NCAAB Betting Prediction For Indiana vs. Xavier (11/18/22)

Indiana hasn’t advanced past the Round of 64 since 2016, but expectations have risen for the Hoosiers in Mike Woodson’s second season. Xavier is also facing higher expectations after Sean Miller was brought back to replace Travis Steele following a bad late-season collapse. One of those programs will have a big early win under its belt after what should be a fun game on Friday night.

Let’s take a look at the odds and make some picks and predictions for Friday’s Gavitt Tip-Off Games matchup in Cincinnati.

Indiana vs. Xavier Odds

Indiana is a slight 2.5-point favorite, entering at -145 on the moneyline. The over/under is set at 143.5 points.

Indiana has carved up Morehead State and Bethune-Cookman so far this season. While that may be what you’d expect from the nation’s 12th-ranked team, plenty of power programs have struggled against weaker competition early in the year. Even Xavier went to halftime trailing Fairfield on Wednesday. With the Hoosiers living up to their billing, they come in favored. Oddsmakers are giving Xavier some credit with this line being so narrow.

Indiana vs. Xavier Prediction & Pick

Indiana’s season ended in embarrassing fashion in March with a blowout loss to St. Mary’s, but the Hoosiers have otherwise looked like one of the Big Ten’s best teams since last February. Trayce Jackson-Davis continues to look like a Big Ten Player of the Year candidate, and Xavier Johnson hasn’t even gotten going yet. Despite a lack of shooting, the continuity under Mike Woodson should continue translating to results.

Xavier is pretty well-equipped to counter Indiana with a strong, experienced frontcourt, but a Musketeers team that had a tough time with Fairfield looked like it still needs time to gel under Miller. Indiana is ready now. The Hoosiers are a nice value at -2.5.

Indiana vs. Xavier Key Matchups

Indiana is very much a forward-heavy team, with Trayce Jackson-Davis among the Big Ten’s elite talents. Jackson-Davis averaged 18+ points and 8+ rebounds in each of the last two seasons and is a safe bet to put up big numbers against Xavier.

The key for the Hoosiers might be guard Xavier Johnson, especially if they want to balance out the team. Johnson, 24, is one of the Big Ten’s most experienced players and filled the stat sheet as a dynamic point guard last season. He’s gotten off to a rough start, but the enhanced competition might get him going. Indiana will need him to feed Jackson-Davis and its other talented forwards.

Xavier has its own dynamic forward that Indiana will need to slow down. Zach Freemantle triple-doubled in the Musketeers’ win over Fairfield and looks like a more well-rounded player than he was last year. Xavier should be able to counter Indiana’s length rebounding ability between Freemantle and Jack Nunge.

The shooting should be interesting in this matchup. Neither team has a bevy of three-point shooters. Miller Kopp might be Indiana’s only proven threat from behind the arc, while Kyky Tandy and transfer Souley Boum (two tremendous names) are establishing themselves as efficient shooters for Xavier. Both offenses still run through the forwards, and Indiana will have the best player on the floor in Jackson-Davis.

Indiana makes up for its shooting difficulties with terrific defense. Xavier had a fairly strong offensive team last season and should have similar success this year. Whether the Musketeers can shoot their way to victory if Indiana’s length gives Freemantle and Nunge trouble is a major question mark.

Dan is a lifelong sports fan and graduate of Boston University. He’s covered several sports on Instagram since he was 12 and now writes about everything from betting trends to breaking news for Lineups.

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