Xavier Musketeers Host Oral Roberts Golden Eagles in College Basketball Sunday

Oral Roberts Golden Eagles at #8 Xavier Musketeers
Cintas Center – Cincinnati, Ohio
Sunday, December 18, 2011, 1:00 pm Eastern, TV: Fox Ohio, ESPN FC
Opening Line: Xavier -6 1/2
Current Line: Xavier -6 1/2
Opening Total: 131
Current Total: 130
Opening Money Line: Xavier -280 / ORU +240
Current Money Line: Xavier -280 / ORU +240

Tu Holloway is one of 4 Xavier players suspended for Sunday's game against Oral Roberts. The Musketeers are still favored by 6.5 points despite being without 3 of their top 4 scorers.

Xavier is 8-0 and ranked #8 in the country, but that is only part of the reason for this game against Oral Roberts will get attention. This is the first game Xavier has played since an ugly brawl that ended last Saturday’s game against crosstown rival Cincinnati. Four Xavier players were suspended as a result of the brawl. Guard Tu Holloway was suspended one game. Guard Mark Lyon was suspended for 2 games. Guards Dezmine Wells and Landon Amos were each suspended 4 games. Holloway, Lyons, and Wells are 3 of the 4 leading scorers for the Musketeers. Amos has only played in 2 games this season. Xavier is coached by Chris Mack and has wins over Georgia, Vanderbilt, Purdue Butler, and Cincinnati. All were by double digits except the Purdue game, which Xavier won by 3.

ORU is coached by Scott Sutton and is 7-4 this season. The Golden Eagles started off 0-2 with losses to West Virginia and Texas-San Antonio. ORU then won 6 straight games but have lost 2 of the last 3 at Oklahoma and Gonzaga sandwiched around a buzzer beating win over Arkansas-Little Rock. ORU also has wins over SMU, Florida International, and Missouri St. Xavier leads the series 10-7 against Oral Roberts, but they haven’t played since 1987. The two schools were conference rivals at the time in the Midwestern Collegiate Conference.

ORU is outscoring opponents 67-63 this season. The Golden Eagles shoot 44% from the field including 30.4% from 3 point range. ORU makes 72.5% of their free throws. The Golden Eagles average 33.2 rebounds a game and have a rebounding margin of +3.4. ORU averages 12.5 assists, 13.7 turnovers, 6.7 steals, and 2.3 blocks a game. ORU opponents are shooting 46.2% from the field including 33.1% from 3 point range. The Golden Eagles force 14.8 turnovers a game.

ORU Forward Dominique Morrison averages 15.9 points, 4.6 rebounds, and 1.9 assists a game. Forward Michael Craion averages 11.9 points, 7.1 rebounds to lead the team, 1.2 assists, and 2.3 steals a game to lead the team. Steven Roundtree averages 10.5 points, 6.4 reounds, and 1.3 assists a game.  Warren Niles averages 9.6 points, 3.5 rebounds, and 2.5 assists a game, and 1 steal a game. Damen Bell-Holter averages 9.2 points, 6 rebounds, 1.2 assists, and 1.2 blocks a game to lead the team. Roderick Pearson, Jr. averages 7.7 points, 2.3 rebounds, 2.7 assists to lead the team, and 1 steal a game.  Forward Kris Obaseki and guard Ken Holdman are both out indefinitely, but neither has played this season.

Xavier is outscoring opponents 74-61 this season. The Musketeers are shooting 47% from the field, including 39% on three pointers. Xavier makes 64.1% of their free throws. The Musketeers average 41 rebounds a game and have a rebounding margin of +6.3. Xavier averages 13.6 assists, 14.5 turnovers, 7.3 steals, and 4.9 blocks a game. Musketeer opponents are shooting 34.9% from the field, including 23.6% from 3 point range. Xavier forces 14.4 turnovers a game.

Holloway averages 17.6 points, 3.9 rebounds, 4.9 assists, and 2.4 steals a game. He leads the Musketeers in scoring, assists, and steals. Lyons averages 17.4 points, 3.8 rebounds, 2.9 assists, and 1.4 steals a game. Kenny Frease averages 9.6 points, 6.3 rebounds, 1.5 assists, and 2.4 blocks a game to lead the team. He is the only top scorer not to be suspended for the ORU game. Wells averages 9.5 points and 4.5 rebounds. Travis Taylor averages 5.9 points and 6.3 rebounds a game to lead the team. Andre Walker, Dee Davis, and Brad Redford will have to replace the scoring and rebounding lost due to the suspensions.

ORU is 2-5 against the spread this year and the total is 1-5 in those games. Xavier is 4-2 ATS and the total is 3-3 this year. The Golden Eagles are 4-10 ATS after a straight up loss, and in non-conference games, 1-4 against teams with winning records, and overall, 0-7 as an underdog of 6.5 points or less, including 0-6 on the road. The Musketeers 5-1 ATS as a favorite of 6.5 points or less, 4-1 after a straight up win, in non-conference games, and overall, 16-5-1 in Sunday games, 5-2 after a cover, 7-3 as a favorite, 1-3-1 as a home favorite of 6.5 or less, and 1-4 in home games against teams with losing road records.

It is impossible to tell how Xavier will react without Holloway, Lyons and Wells, who account for 40% of the scoring for the Musketeers. Xavier will only dress 8 scholarship players against ORU. The Golden Eagles have played a difficult schedule and won’t be intimidated against a top 10 team, albeit a depleted one.

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