TV Schedule: Tuesday, Jan. 26, 8:30 p.m. ET, Fox Sports 1
Arena: Dunkin Donuts Center, Providence, R.I.
Line: Xavier (-1)
With a massive upset of the then No. 4 Villanova Wildcats on the road, the Providence Friars not only opened up the Big East but gave themselves a chance to work their way into the top five. For that to be done, however, the Friars will need to keep their foot on the gas, as the No. 7 Xavier Musketeers travel to Dunkin Donuts Center on Tuesday night.
Xavier has lost just two games on the season, but they will feel a lot less confident heading into this one than their foes due to Providence defeating Villanova whereas the Musketeers were completely destroyed by the Wildcats. Xavier is one of the most all-around talented teams in college basketball, but the question is whether or not they can turn that talent into wins against top opposition on the road.
Remember, these are two legitimate Final Four contenders; both of these teams could easily win the Big East as well. A team will lose on Tuesday night, but everyone who is watching wins, especially the casual fans.
That being said, on paper, the Musketeers are clearly the better all-around team. What Xavier does not have, however, is a player the quality of Kris Dunn, who is a nightly triple-double threat that does not even lead his team in scoring – an honor which belongs to Ben Bentil.
If this was on the road, I would give this one to Xavier, but since it is at home and the Friars are riding high after a massive upset over Villanova, this one goes to Providence.
Prediction: Providence 77, Xavier 75