If you were lucky enough to stay up and catch another epic comeback performance from a shockingly good Duke team on Sunday night then you know that NCAA basketball is in full swing. We’ve already had some incredible games so far this season and teams are beginning to jockey in earnest for position as December looms around the corner.
We have a big matchup between two top 25 teams on Tuesday night when the Baylor Bears visit Xavier for a date with the Musketeers. The Bears enter the matchup as a triumphant 5-0 club on the season and currently ranked 16th. They’ve just come off two big wins over Wisconsin and Creighton including a victory in the Hall of Fame Classic Championship over the Badgers.
Baylor is led by guard Manu Lecomte who is averaging an excellent 19.5 points per game so far this season but it’s not just a one-man show for the Bears. They have four players averaging double digits and get it done on the defensive end as well. Baylor has held every opponent they’ve played this season to under 66 points but may find it harder to shut down the Musketeers on Tuesday night.
Xavier is no stranger to big games and will be eager to put a stop to Baylor’s win streak. They enter the match at 5-1 and are led by veteran Trevon Bluiett who happens to be one of the best pure shooters in all of college basketball. He’s popping in 21.3 points per game this season and has made 20 of his 39 three-point attempts to keep his average just above 50 percent from behind the ark. He’s an enormous reason why this Xavier team ranks 8th in offensive efficiency in the country to start the season and chips in all across the board with averages of 6.2 rebounds and 3.3 assists.
Like Baylor, this Xavier team doesn’t just rely on one shooter. They have four players who are averaging scoring in the double digits and will be a handful for a Baylor team that is coming off two tough victories. While I mentioned earlier that Baylor has yet to have a team score 66 or more points against them…that run could easily come to an end against a Musketeers team averaging an insane 91.2 points a game.
Baylor won this matchup with ease last season when they held Xavier to 61 points in a 76-61 blowout, but that was on home turf. Now a seemingly tired Bears team will have to travel on the road and try to cool down one of the hottest offenses in the country. I don’t see Baylor staying undefeated on the season and love taking Xavier on the spread and the moneyline.
The Musketeers have no starter under 6’4”, and no primary rotation player shorter than 6’3”. This is a long and athletic team, with tremendous shooters in Blueitt, Macura and Gates. All three rank in the top 400 in terms of true shooting percentage, with the two wing players ranking in the top 50. They will score, and they do so at the 16th highest rate in the nation averaging 91.2 points per game.
While they do not play as fast as the Bears previous opponent in Creighton, the Musketeers do want to get out and run much more than the Bears. They are a solid defensive rebounding team, led by Tyrique Jones, and push the tempo with their guards. Like Creighton, they do not force turnovers very often (15.7% – 313th in the nation) but do a good job of challenging shots with their length all around the court.
Baylor won this matchup with ease last season when they held Xavier to 61 points in a 76-61 blowout, but that was on home turf. Now a seemingly tired Bears team will have to travel on the road and try to cool down one of the hottest offenses in the country. I don’t see Baylor staying undefeated on the season and love taking Xavier on the spread at -4.5.
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