Sean Miller’s return to Xavier is off to a perfect start, and he and the Musketeers have the opportunity to pick up an early resume-building win tonight as #12 Indiana visits the Cintas Center.
Reunions don’t always go well, but Miller’s return to the program he first helmed from 2004 to 2009 has begun with double-digit wins over Morgan State, Montana, and Fairfield.
Tonight’s game is certainly a major step up for last season’s NIT champs, and it is one of the most intriguing matchups on Friday’s college basketball schedule partly because the Hoosiers were coached by Miller’s brother Archie from 2017 to 2021.
Will the elder brother be able to avenge the family name tonight, or will Mike Woodson’s Hoosiers pick up a road win that will likely help their own seeding position come March? Read on for my Indiana vs Xavier prediction and picks.
Indiana Hoosiers vs Xavier Musketeers Matchup Information and Betting Odds
- Matchup: #12 Indiana Hoosiers (2-0) vs Xavier Musketeers (3-0)
- Venue & Location: Cintas Center (Cincinnati, Ohio)
- Date: Friday, November 18, 2022
- Game Time: 6:00 pm ET
- How to Watch Indiana vs Xavier: FS1
Indiana vs Xavier Odds
Game odds are via FanDuel as of Friday, November 18, 2022, at 1:25 pm ET. Odds from our other recommended legal sports betting sites may also be mentioned in this article.
- Indiana -2.5 (-110)
- Xavier +2.5 (-110)
- Over 142.5 (-112)
- Under 142.5 (-108)
- Indiana -140
- Xavier +116
Will Indiana’s Supporting Cast Step Up at Xavier?
As was the case for the final two seasons of Archie Miller’s tenure and Woodson’s first season, Trayce Jackson-Davis is leading Indiana in scoring and rebounding early on this season.
If the Hoosiers are to live up to the lofty preseason prognostications and win the Big Ten, Jackson-Davis will be at the center of it.
But if they are to really be one of the best teams in college basketball and reach the second week of March Madness for the first time since reaching the Sweet Sixteen under Tom Crean in 2016, the supporting cast will need to contribute significantly, most notably on the offensive end.
The first two games, an 88-53 win over Morehead State and a 101-49 win over Bethune-Cookman, are encouraging on both ends of the court.
But the Hoosiers scored decently early on last season, averaging 82.1 PPG through their first seven games. However, over their final 28 games of the season, IU averaged just 68.0 PPG and finished the season averaging 70.8 PPG overall.
With that in mind, tonight’s game will be a real test to see what this team is or isn’t.
They will certainly win a lot of games by virtue of being stout defensively, but this is not likely to be a game where scoring under 70 points might not be enough to win. Last season, Indiana scored under 70 points seven times in 11 true road games, and they won only one of those games (a 68-55 win at Maryland on January 29).
In his first five-season tenure at Xavier and his 12 seasons at Arizona, Miller coached only two teams that allowed 70+ PPG: his first Arizona team in the 2009-10 season, which went 16-15, and his 2017-18 Arizona team, which won the Pac-12 regular season and tournament titles and averaged 80.5 PPG, the most any Miller-coached team has averaged to date.
All-Big East Talent Set to Return for Musketeers
After spraining his ankle in practice on Monday, preseason All-Big East guard Colby Jones missed Tuesday’s 78-65 win over Fairfield.
According to the latest reports, Jones should be back on the court tonight. How much he will be able to contribute remains to be seen, but he opened the season with 15 points, six rebounds, nine assists, three blocks, and three steals against Morgan State and 12 points, two boards, and five dimes against Montana.
With Jones out against Fairfield, Adam Kunkel came up big as Xavier overcame a halftime deficit to win by a comfortable margin. Kunkel scored 21 points (8 for 13 FG, 4 for 8 3PT, 1 for 1 FT) in 33 minutes after playing only 28 minutes in the first two games.
The Musketeers also got big games from seniors Jack Nunge (23 points) and Zach Freemantle (15 points, 13 rebounds, 10 assists), who produced the fifth triple-double in school history.
Xavier absolutely has the talent to compete with and beat Indiana, especially if Jones’s ankle does not prove to be an issue.
Indiana Hoosiers vs Xavier Musketeers Prediction and Picks
Indiana vs Xavier Prediction: Xavier to win
Indiana vs Xavier Picks: Xavier to cover (Best Value: +2.5 @ -105 at BetMGM) & Xavier ML (Best Value: +130 at Caesars Sportsbook & BetMGM)
I do think the total is a shade too high, so I am staying away from the total for my Indiana vs Xavier picks.
But I love the home team to take care of business at home and pull out a win that I wouldn’t consider an upset, despite the Hoosiers’ lofty ranking and the Musketeers coming in unranked.
The Cintas Center is not an easy place to play, and as much hype as Indiana is getting, I need to see them perform well and pick up some wins in a tough pre-2023 slate before I think about hopping on that wagon.
Tonight’s game is the first challenge in that bunch (vs North Carolina at home, vs Arizona in Las Vegas, at Xavier, Rutgers, and Kansas). And with Xavier at home and with Jones back in action, I’m feeling the Musketeers a lot more than the Hoosiers here.
The post Indiana vs. Xavier Basketball Prediction & Picks: Will Sean Miller avenge his brother as Hoosiers visit the Cintas Center? appeared first on Betting News.