In what was one of the most thrilling last minutes in a college basketball game that I have ever witnessed, Depaul squeaked out the upset win over Seton Hall to advance in the Big East tournament. They now battle it out against Xavier as a +11 underdog, looking to catch lightning in a bottle once again. With their offense being able to match Xavier’s scoring pace, my prediction is that they will cash with ease in this high scoring affair.
Depaul Vs. Xavier Prediction
Depaul doesn’t exactly strike fear on either end of the court, hovering around league average marks in both Adjusted Offensive and Defensive Efficiency. Their offense has slightly fared better, ranking 141st in AdjO while their defense clocks in at 171st per Kenpom. What bodes well for our over ticket is that they have vastly improved on the offensive end, finding consistency from the perimeter to stretch out opposing defenses.
Their perimeter shooting will be vital as they will need to do their part to cash this lofty over. They currently rank 71st in the nation in three-point percentage, completing their looks from deep at a 36.1% clip. That number has vastly improved in their last three contests, shooting up to as high as 39.1% from deep. Looks should come in bunches once again as Xavier has lacked on the defensive end throughout the season.
Especially from the middle and top level, struggling to contain perimeter and mid-range looks. With Depaul’s recent hot shooting from deep, they should have no issue in stretching out Xavier’s defense. This will open up the already weak mid-range for pull ups or less resistance in making the extra pass from a slashing guard. Once the middle is abused, Xavier will either have to clamp back down, or bring up their interior defense which opens more holes in the defense.
I’m not thrilled about the idea of backing a scoring effort from a team on no rest, yet Xavier’s weak defense presents the opportunity for Depaul to get right back into rhythm. It also helps that Xavier is a sizable favorite, expected to maintain a big lead off a consistent scoring pace. This backs Depaul’s backs into a wall, forcing them to ramp up their pace to match Xavier’s scoring rate should they want to stay within upset range.
Depaul Vs. Xavier Prediction: Wait on the over
Depaul Vs. Xavier Odds
With all that said, can Depaul get the upset victory? Oddsmakers don’t think so as they opened the Blue Demons as a +12.5 underdog. Bettors on the other hand believe that number was a tad too high, backing Depaul down to +11 as of writing. Their previous result was less to be desired as they needed a fluke ending to skate past Seton Hall, yet their capable scorers who now get to go against a much weaker defense in the Musketeers.
As for the total, this is where my interests lie as I believe we are in for a scoring fest. Oddsmakers believe the same as well, opening the total at 156. Bettors are actually thinking elsewise, backing the under down to as low as 154 as of writing. This movement is baffling to me, yet I am more than comfortable with waiting to see how low this can go before putting a position on the over.
Depaul Vs. Xavier Key Matchups
Xavier shooting vs Depaul coverage
While Depaul has improved on the offensive end, their defense has been a much different story. They are one of the worst coverage units in basketball, allowing an Effective Field Goal Percentage of 51.4%. Good for 230rd in the nation.
In fact, their defense has been much worse as of late as they have been burned at a 59.4% eFG% rate in their last three contests. That doesn’t bode well against a Xavier squad who may be one of the best shooting units in the country.
The Musketeers ability to connect on jump shots is a major reason why I believe my Depaul Vs. Xavier over prediction will cash. They shoot an incredible 50% from the field and a near 40% from the perimeter. All while in a quick pace, exposing gaps against a reeling defense in transition.
Wait to see how low this total can go before putting a position on the over as this matchup should see plenty of scoring on both ends.