The Xavier Musketeers (4-0) and Vanderbilt Commodores (5-1) are set to meet up Monday night inside Memorial Gym at 7:00 ET on ESPN2.
Xavier Musketeers at Vanderbilt Commodores
Xavier has started the season with a 4-0 record and will be playing its first of four straight games that will be broadcast on the ESPN family of networks. The Musketeers are coming off a sensational 70-56 win over the Georgia Bulldogs as 10.5-point home favorites, leading by as many as 36 points in the second half. Junior guard Mark Lyons is the team’s leading scorer, averaging 17.8 points per game, being named to the Preseason Second-Team All-Atlantic 10 before the season began. The program tallied an 8-4 record on opponent home courts last year, as this will be the team’s first road game of the 2011-12 campaign. Xavier is 37-28 ATS over the last two-plus seasons.
The Musketeers have four players that are averaging double figures and point guard Tu Holloway is the leader, coming in with 1,283 career points. He is one of just three players named to the 2010-11 AP All-American teams that returned to the college basketball hardcourt this season, joining Ohio State’s Jared Sullinger and Wisconsin’s Jordan Taylor. Surprisingly enough, Xavier has won all four meetings in this series, but just two of those contests have occurred since the 1947-48 season.
Vanderbilt has won four straight games since suffering its first loss to the Cleveland State Vikings on Nov. 13, including a 95-73 win over Monmouth, shooting a season-high 57.1 percent from the floor and 44 percent from beyond the arc. Head coach Kevin Stallings wasn’t exactly pleased with the effort. “I feel like we really got outworked, out-toughed, outplayed and we won because we have superior talent,” stated Stallings after the game. The team has been playing shorthanded with the loss of two key players due to injuries, but leading scorer John Jenkins has picked up the slack in averaging 20.2 points a game. Vanderbilt is 12-17 ATS at home the past two-plus seasons.
The Commodores have tallied a 22-17 record inside Memorial Gym against ranked opponents during the Stallings’ era, including a 3-1 mark a year ago. Vanderbilt registered a 14-3 mark at home last season, scoring 80.3 points a night, while shooting 49.1 percent from the floor. Since the 1990 campaign, the program owns a 174-16 non-conference record at home. It’s a talented group that returned this season, as the team led the SEC in scoring 75.9 points per game, while also finishing 35th nationally in outscoring opponents by 8.2 points a contest.
Bettors will likely back the Musketeers due to their 4-0 ATS mark as a road underdog, while the Commodores are 1-5 ATS at home.
Recommendation: Xavier Musketeers +4
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