The city of Cincinnati will be divided this evening as the Cincinnati Bearcats will trek over to the Cintas Center to meet the Xavier Musketeers for the 91st edition of the annual Crosstown Shootout. Tipoff is set for 6:30 p.m. ET and the game will air on FS1.
Cincinnati (7-0) is unbeaten heading into this rivalry showdown and has won every game by double digits with the exception of its 86-81 overtime victory over Howard on November 28. The team most recently obliterated Florida Gulf Coast in a 99-62 rout on Sunday, a game where they doubled the Eagles on the glass 46-23.
Even though they are undefeated, the Bearcats’ non-conference schedule has been unimpressive. They have yet to face an opponent ranked higher than 125th in KenPom and have just one Quad 1 victory on their resume. They’re going to need a few games with juice to prepare themselves for the Big 12 gauntlet they’re running into in a few weeks and tonight will be their first opportunity to grab a quality victory.
Xavier (4-5) has struggled early, but have played hard in each of its contests. The Musketeers signature outings so far were an 83-71 setback against Purdue on November 13 and a 66-60 loss to Houston last Friday, a pair of games where they hung tough against two of the nation’s elite. Their most recent loss came against Delaware on Tuesday, a game they dropped 87-80 despite a 34-point outburst from Quincy Olivari.
This is the penultimate game of Xavier’s non-conference schedule and it desperately needs to establish some momentum before walking right into Big East action in a few weeks. Sean Miller is dealing with a sizably younger roster compared to last year’s Sweet 16 squad and a good building block for this year’s crew would be defending their home court against a crosstown foe.
Both teams match up pretty well according to KenPom, but there’s an opportunity here for Cincinnati to get the most out of its possessions. The Bearcats are one of the most careful teams with the ball with a turnover percentage of just 12.6% and they’re one of the better offensive rebounding teams in the nation with a rate of 37.5%. Xavier will make them work though, as it is holding opponents to just 44.5% in effective field goal percentage.
Cincinnati vs. Xavier Odds from DraftKings Sportsbook
Spread: Cincinnati -1
Moneyline: UC -115, XU -105