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UConn faces Xavier in pivotal Big East matchup: Preview, how to watch, odds

This one could be a dandy.

COLLEGE BASKETBALL: FEB 13 UConn at St John’s Photo by Gregory Fisher/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

UConn and Xavier are separated by two games in the Big East standings. With only a few more games left to play, that distance only gains further importance. And that is what makes Saturday’s tilt between the Huskies and Musketeers that much more urgent. The 18-7, 9-5 Huskies battle with the 17-8, 7-7 Musketeers in a Saturday afternoon showdown. UConn’s won two in a row coming into play, racking up wins against St. John’s and Seton Hall. Xavier is slipping, having lost three of their last four. Funny enough, the only win? Against UConn last Friday.

How to watch UConn vs. Xavier

Time: Noon ET
TV: Fox
Watch Online: Fox Sports App

Betting Odds

(via DraftKings Sportsbook)

Spread: UConn -6.5 | Xavier +6.5
Total: 140
Moneyline: UConn -265 | Xavier +215

The Huskies’ home-court dominance has remained a theme for them on the whole. This year their average scoring margin at home is +19.5 and they’re averaging over 80 points per game. That margin ranks 14th in the country and they’re still one of the better home teams in the nation with that PPG mark.

Xavier on the road could be better and could be worse. They’re averaging 69.8 points on the road and allowing 70.3. Both marks pale in comparison to how UConn plays at home. So that will be one of the more intriguing storylines to watch here. It doesn’t help that of late Xavier has struggled. They’re giving up 75.7 points in their last three and that could prove costly against UConn’s defense. The Huskies have only allowed 66.3 points per game in the past three. While they’ve only scored 67, they’re still above water.

In all though, these are two very good teams. Both, on the whole, are averaging over 70 points per game, allowing 65 or so points per game, limiting turnovers, and playing sound hoops. Xavier has some bad luck as they’ve shot the ball particularly well in the last few games but have still been on the losing end. In fact, they’ve scored nearly 2.0 full points per possession more than UConn over the last three games. They’ve shot the ball pretty effectively so that will be interesting to watch here.

I think UConn’s home dominance continues, but it wouldn’t surprise me if this was a close one.