Prediction, Preview, and Odds
#727 Cincinnati 138.5 vs.
#728 Xavier -5.5
Saturday, December 7, 2019 at 5:00pm EST
Written by Blake V.

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#727 University of Cincinnati
#728 Xavier University
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One of college basketball’s most intense rivalries will take place on Saturday night when Cincinnati and Xavier meet in the Crosstown Shootout. The two schools are only separated by three miles, making it one of the closest major rivalries in all of sports. Cincinnati and Xavier have met every year since 1946. In 2011, there was a bench-clearing brawl with just seconds remaining, resulting in suspensions of four Bearcat players and four Musketeer players. Saturday’s game will take place on Xavier’s campus at the Cintas Center.

Cincinnati could be without Cumberland

Cincinnati fans will have a lot on their plate this weekend, as the Bearcats’ football team faces Memphis in the AAC Championship game on Saturday afternoon. Meanwhile, the Cincinnati basketball team will hope to build on its three-game winning streak when the Bearcats face Xavier. They are off to a 6-2 start, with a season-opening loss to No. 18 Ohio State and a road loss against Bowling Green as a 7-point favorite. However, Cincinnati has picked up wins against Drake, Alabama A&M, Illinois State, Valparaiso, UNLV and Vermont. Three of the Bearcats’ last four games have gone to overtime.

The Bearcats could be without their best player on Saturday. Senior guard Jarron Cumberland is officially listed as ‘questionable’ after leaving Tuesday’s game with a hip injury against Vermont. He has also missed a game for an ankle injury and missed another due to a coach’s decision for not meeting practice expectations. Cumberland is the reigning AAC Player of the Year and is scoring 14.3 points per game this season. Sophomore center Chris Vogt is the second-leading scorer, adding 12.9 points per game and 6.9 rebounds per outing. Junior guard Keith Williams is scoring 12.8 points per game and is adding 4.1 rebounds per contest. Senior guard Jaevin Cumberland is scoring 11.0 points per game and has 2.1 assists per game.

Xavier hoping to pick-up rivalry win

Xavier is off to an 8-1 start this season. The Musketeers opened the year with a 19-point win against Jacksonville and followed it up with an 18-point win against Siena. Xavier then picked up an overtime victory against Missouri and followed it up with a win against Missouri State. The Musketeers played in the Charleston Classic, picking up wins against Towson and Connecticut (2OT) before losing to Florida in the championship game. They have bounced back from the lone setback with wins against Lipscomb and Green Bay at home.

The Musketeers are led by a trio of upperclassmen who are all scoring in double figures. Junior forward Naji Marshall is scoring 15.4 points per game and is second on the team with 5.8 rebounds per game. He also has a team-high average of 3.8 assists per contest. Junior guard Paul Scruggs is scoring 15.1 points per game and is the team’s best 3-point shooter at 13 of 41 from beyond the arc. Senior forward Tyrique Jones is leading Xavier in rebounding with 9.4 boards per game to go along with 14.2 points per outing. Senior guard Quentin Goodin is scoring 6.8 points per game and is 11 of 33 from downtown.

Best Bets for this Game

Full-Game Side Bet

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It’s simply impossible to pick Cincinnati to cover the spread due to Cumberland’s injury status. The Bearcats are understandably not the same team when he is not on the court. Even so, he has not been nearly as effective so far this year, which could be due to some of the injury issues. Xavier was already going to be favored to win this game due to the strength of its team and a home-court advantage, but Cumberland’s injury makes this is a much easier pick. I like Xavier to come out on top in this heated rivalry, but late injury updates on Cumberland are going to be crucial for anyone betting this game.

Prediction: Xavier

Full-Game Total Pick

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Both of these teams like to get out in transition when it’s available, but Cumberland’s injury is really going to hamper the Cincinnati offense if he is unable to go. Also, heated rivalry games like this one tend to come down to execution in the half court and key defensive stops. Six of the last 10 games between these two teams have gone under the number. The total has also gone under in all five of Cincinnati’s recent road games. I like this game to come down to stops on the defensive end of the court, which makes me lean toward the under.

Prediction: Under
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Written By Blake V.

Blake is a lifelong sports fan and hoops junkie. Prior to joining our team at Winners & Whiners and StatSalt, Blake worked for several newspapers and websites. He enjoys combining his beat writing expertise with the knack for finding the winning edge in a matchup. Remember, it’s a marathon, not a sprint.