Providence vs Xavier Basketball Prediction & Picks: Will the Musketeers fend off the Friars at home?

Eddie Griffin

The past few days have not been a positive stretch in what has been an otherwise great season for Xavier, but the Musketeers must keep on trucking and try to remain atop the Big East standings tonight as they host fellow conference title contender Providence (6:30 pm ET, FS1).

The #16 Musketeers (17-5, 9-2 Big East) fell by 17 at Creighton on Saturday, and the game wasn’t the only thing that they lost. Forward Zach Freemantle, who is second on the team in scoring and leads the team in rebounding, will miss most of Xavier’s stretch run due to injury.

There’s never a great time for a key player to go down for an extended period of time, but it’s especially inconvenient with the #17 Friars (17-5, 9-2 Big East) coming to town.

These two teams are part of a three-way tie atop the Big East standings, with #14 Marquette, who hosts Villanova tonight (8:30 pm ET, FS1), also at 9-2 in the Big East and 17-5 overall.

There will be a change in the standings tonight, but which one of these teams will either be tied with Marquette or alone in first? Read on for our Providence vs Xavier basketball prediction, as well as our picks for tonight’s matchup in Cincinnati.

Providence vs Xavier Odds

Odds are via FanDuel as of Wednesday, February 1, 2023, at 1:45 pm ET. This article may also include odds from our other recommended legal sports betting sites.


  • Providence +3.5 (-102)
  • Xavier -3.5 (-120)


  • Over 153.5 (-115)
  • Under 153.5 (-105)


  • Providence +155
  • Xavier -188

How Will Xavier Respond Against Providence?

The Musketeers’ success this season has been built largely on the starting five of Freemantle, Jack Nunge, Adam Kunkel, Colby Jones, and Souley Boum, who have accounted for 83.4% of the team’s points, 71.5% of the team’s rebounds, and 81.8% of the team’s assists.

So, losing one of them is a big, big blow. But this presents an opportunity for reserve forward Jerome Hunter to show what he can do with more minutes.

The senior, who started 17 games last season, is averaging 6.1 PPG and 3.4 RPG in 14.3 minutes per game this season, and he is shooting 58.7% from the field. So, there’s reason to be optimistic that he can be an adequate enough fill-in for Freemantle.

It also doesn’t hurt that the Musketeers get so much from their other starters, one of whom may have a big, big point to prove tonight.

Leading scorer Souley Boum had his worst game of the season against Creighton, scoring only two points in 36 minutes and making only one of five shots from the field.

That is something Boum has done only eight times in 76 games over the last three seasons, and none of those instances has happened in consecutive games. So, we should see him have a much better game tonight against Providence.

As a team, the thing that needs to see the most improvement from Saturday to tonight is perimeter shooting, as the Musketeers were just 4 of 14 (28.6%) from outside.

Thus far this season, there has been only one instance in which Xavier failed to shoot 40% or better from three in back-to-back games, so the odds are on a much better night for the Big East’s best perimeter performers (39.8%, 5th in Division I).

Providence vs Xavier Prediction and Picks

Providence vs Xavier Prediction: Xavier to win

Providence vs Xavier Picks: Xavier -3.5 (Best Value: BetMGM) & Providence/Xavier over 153.5 (Best Value: BetRivers)

Freemantle is a major loss, but the Musketeers may be as equipped as any team to navigate the loss of a key player.

Now, that might not apply if they lose a second starter, but when they have four quality starters and an adequate fill-in who isn’t short on experience, then they should be able to survive Freemantle’s absence.

The Friars have certainly punched above their weight this season, but their best wins are at home, and they have lost all of their toughest road games (at TCU, Creighton, and Marquette).

While Sean Miller may be without one of his best players for most of the rest of the regular season, Xavier still has the goods to compete at a high level. It remains to be seen if they can beat out Marquette, Providence, and Creighton for the Big East title, but they will get the best of the Friars tonight at the Cintas Center.

Eddie Griffin

Eddie Griffin has been writing about and betting on sports for over a decade. He joined the ranks of Betting News as a content manager. For more of his thoughts on sports and sports betting, you can follow him on Twitter.

Eddie Griffin has been writing about and betting on sports for over a decade. He joined the ranks of Betting News as a content manager. For more of his thoughts on sports and sports betting, you can follow him on Twitter.