Crosstown Rivals Collide: Cincinnati Bearcats at Xavier Musketeers

Cincinnati Bearcats at #8 Xavier Musketeers
Scintas Arena – Cincinnati, Ohio
Saturday, December 10, 2011, 12:30 pm Eastern, TV: ESPN2
Opening Line: Xavier -7
Current Line: Xavier -7 1/2
Opening Total: 124
Current Total: 124 1/2
Opening Money Line: Xavier -335 / Cincinnati +285
Current Money Line: Xavier -380 / Cincinnati +290

Tu Holloway and the Xavier Musketeers host crosstown rival Cincinnati Saturday afternoon. Xavier is a 7 point favorite.

The 5-2 Cincinnati Bearcats take on their crosstown rival the #8 7-0 Xavier Musketeers Saturday afternoon. Cincinnati leads the overall series 48-30 including a 66-46 win last year on the Bearcat’s home campus. Until a few seasons ago this game was always at a neutral site, but has been played at the campus sites recently. The Bearcats are coached by Mick Cronin, and have puzzling losses at home to Presbyterian 56-54 and Marshall 73-69 in overtime. Cincinnati has won two straight games against rival Miami-Ohio 56-47 and last Friday at Georgia 57-51. The Georgia win is by far the best win of the season for the Bearcats. Xavier is coached by Chris Mack. Xavier also has wins over Miami 66-60 and Georgia 70-56 along with road wins at Vanderbilt 82-70 and Wednesday night at Butler 73-61. The Musketeers also have a home win over Purdue 66-63.

Cincinnati was a 1.5 point favorite on the road at Georgia last Friday on the college basketball betting line. Cincinnati struggled in the first half, with an 8 minute stretch where they didn’t hit a field goal. Georgia took a 30-21 lead at halftime. Cincinnati shut down the Bulldogs in the second half. The Bearcats went on a 16-4 run early in the second half and never gave up the lead for the rest of the game. Cincinnati took a 38-31 lead with 13 minutes left, and Georgia only scored 3 field goals for the rest of the game. In fact, Georgia was only 6/21 shooting in the second half. The Bulldogs had 8 turnovers and 3 assists in the second half as the Bearcats won 57-51. The Bearcats were 19/49 shooting from the field but they did make 9 of 20 three pointers. Cincy was 10/19 from the free throw line. Both teams had 32 rebounds. Georgia had 13 turnovers and Cincinnati had 12. Bearcat guard Sean Kilpatrick had 22 points and 5 rebounds. He made 4 out of 9 three pointers he attempted. Guard Dion Dixon had 19 points, 4 rebounds, and 3 assists. Forward Yancy Gates scored only 5 points but had 8 rebounds.

Cincinnati is outscoring teams 69-60 this season. The Bearcats are shooting 43.7% from the field, including 33.8% on three pointers. The Bearcats are shooting 66.8% from the free throw line. Cincinnati pulls down 35.3 rebounds a game, and have a rebounding margin of +4.3. Cincinnati averages 14.2 assists, 11.5 turnovers, 7.4 steals, and 3.7 blocks a game. Cincinnati opponents are shooting 41.1% from the field, including 32.3% from 3-point range.

Kilpatrick is averaging 15 points to lead the team, 5.1 rebounds, and 1.3 assists a game. He is 16/35 on three point shots this season. Dixon averages 13.4 points, 4.9 rebounds, 1.3 assists, and 1.4 steals a game. Dixon is 13/34 on three pointers. Gates averages 12.9 points, 9.1 rebounds, 1.1 assists, and 1.3 blocks a game. Guard Cashmere Wright averages 9.3 points, 3.3 rebounds, 4.7 assists to lead the team, and 1.7 steals a game to tie for the team lead. Justin Jackson averages 6.1 rebounds, 1.7 steals, and 2 blocks a game to lead the team. Guard Jaquon Parker is questionable with a groin injury. Forward Octavius Ellis is out until early January with a broken hand. Forward Shaquille Thomas is out indefinitely because of eligibility issues.

Xavier was a 5 point favorite at Butler Wednesday night. The game was close early until Xavier went on a 17-0 run. At one point Xavier was up by 18. Butler had only 5 first half baskets as Xavier jumped out to a 39-23 halftime lead. Butler fought back in the second half pulling to within 4 points at 45-41 with 13 minutes to go. However, Xavier held on for the 73-61 win. Xavier guard Tu Holloway struggled from the field hitting only 1 out of 7 shots. However he made 14 of his 16 free throws to lead the Musketeers with 16 points. Holloway also added 7 rebounds, 3 assists, and 6 steals. Guard Mark Lyons also had 16 points. Guard/forward Dezmine Wells had 13 points.

Xavier is outscoring opponents 74-62 this season. The Musketeers are shooting 46.3% from the field, including 39.6% on three pointers. Xavier makes 63.3% of their free throws. The Musketeers average 41.1 rebounds a game and have a rebounding margin of +6.6. Xavier averages 13.3 assists, 14.9 turnovers, 7.4 steals, and 4.4 blocks a game. Musketeer opponents are shooting 35.9% from the field, including 25.5% from 3 point range.

Holloway averages 17.7 points, 4.2 rebounds, 4.7 assists, and 2.7 steals a game. He leads the Musketeers in scoring, assists, and steals. Lyons averages 17.1 points, 4.1 rebounds, 2.7 assists, and 1.6 steals a game. Kenny Frease averages 9.1 points, 5.3 rebounds, 1.6 assists, and 2.1 blocks a game to lead the team. Wells averages 8.9 points and 4.3 rebounds. Travis Taylor averages 6.6 points and 6.9 rebounds a game to lead the team.

Xavier is 3-2 against the spread and the total is 2-3 this season. Cincinnati is 1-3 ATS and the total is 2-2 this season. The underdog is 8-3 ATS in the last 11 in this series and the under is 7-3 in the last 10. The Bearcats are 7-3 ATS in non-conference games, 1-4 after a straight up win, and overall. The Musketeers are 10-4 ATS after a straight up win, 3-7 in Saturday games, and as a favorite of 7-12.5 points, including 2-5 at home, 4-10-1 in non-conference games, 1-4 at home, and 0-6 at home against teams with winning road records.

Cincinnati has been inconsistent this season. They haven’t played a team nearly as talented as Xavier. This could get ugly, but recent history in this series suggests the underdog will cover. I see Xavier breaking that trend and winning by double digits.

Our college basketball handicappers are red hot this season and are crushing the sports books. Check our college basketball odds page for the best lines on every game.

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