We had a nice 2-1 night ATS with college basketball picks, pulling the season record up to a healthy 41-30-2, and will look to keep it going by heading back to a conference that treated us well last night, the Atlantic 10. As I said yesterday, this is one of my favorite conferences in the country, and it is absolutely loaded with tournament and solid bubble teams (teams like Dayton and St. Louis). We got a win with Butler last night, who as predicted, went on the road and beat a good, but not nearly as good as most people thought they’d be, St Joe’s team last night.
Tonight’s free A-10 pick also focuses on a good team going on the road and facing a team that SEEMS like they should be a little better than they actually are. So let’s dig into tonight’s Temple at Xavier matchup for a game breakdown.
Temple Owls -2.5 at Xavier Musketeers
Temple will never be accused of playing a light schedule. Sure, the Owls have dialed it back a bit this season with a healthy mix of Alcorn State and Wagners in the mix, but games against Duke, Syracuse and Kansas are the toughest trio of non-conference games anyone NOT named Duke has faced this season. The Owls emerged 1-2, with a marquee win over Syracuse on a neutral floor and a hard-fought 69-62 loss AT Phogg Allen Fieldhouse to solidify their resume. It basically makes the curious Chirstmas time loss to Canisius go away…
Xavier on the other hand, probably wishes it could have retroactively dialed back their schedule. They are in the midst of an uncharacteristically down season, and games against Cincinnati, Purdue, Vanderbilt, Kansas State, and Butler aren’t helping matters heading into the best Atlantic 10 in decades. Xavier started off the year promising, beating Butler and Drexel and a few other decent ball clubs, but the wheels have come off lately, losing four in a row and five of their last six.
Xavier’s problem this season is simply that they aren’t very good. Freshman Semaj Christon has been a pleasant surprise filling in after the transfer of Mark Lyons to Arizona, but overall the graduation of three starters plus the losses of Lyons and Dez Wells have been too much for Chris Mack’s club to overcome. In their last three games they have lost on the road to Wake Forest and Tennessee, neither of whom are any good, and lost at home to Wofford. Yuck. The scary thing for X fans is that Temple tonight is significantly better than all three of those ballclubs.
Xavier tends to play well at the Cintas Center, but even in good years they have struggled with the tempo and poise of Temple. They have lost three of their last four to Temple, and those were Sweet Sixteen caliber Xavier teams. This team will be lucky to make the NIT.
Take Temple on the road laying just the two and half points. I expect them to roll easily tonight.
Free Pick: Temple Owls -2.5