25* Atlantic 10 GAME OF THE YEAR on Xavier +8
Xavier vs. Saint Louis,
02/28/2012 21:00 EDT,
Score: 59 - 70
Point Spread: +8/-107 Xavier
The Xavier Musketeers are the definition of a bubble team. They have so much at stake tonight that getting 8 points is an absolute gift from oddsmakers. I'll back the Musketeers in a game I believe they are likely to win outright.
Xavier opened 8-0 this season with wins over Vanderbilt, Purdue, Butler, Georgia and Cincinnati. But they got in a brawl with the Bearcats in their 76-53 win over Cincinnati, and they just haven't quite been the same team since. They simply haven't been living up to their potential.
I look for the Musketeers to bring their "A" game tonight with what's at stake. Joe Lunardi currently has them as a "last 4 in" team in terms of the NCAA Tournament, but a loss tonight would put them on the outside looking in. They also trail Saint Louis by just one game in the Atlantic 10 standings.
Xavier lost 68-73 at home to Saint Louis in their first meeting, so there's no question they want some revenge tonight. This is still one of the more talented teams in the country, and they will put their best foot forward in this one. Star guards Tu Holloway (16.9 PPG, 5.6 APG) and Mark Lyons (15.7 PPG) will rise to the occasion.
Saint Louis is 1-9 ATS in their last 10 after 2 straight games where opponent was called for 15 or less fouls. The Billikens are 3-7 ATS in their last 10 games as a favorite of 7.0-12.5. Xavier has won seven of their last eight meetings with Saint Louis, so to say the Billikens' earlier win over the Musketeers this season was rare would be an understatement. Bet Xavier Tuesday.