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Villanova v Xavier

The rumors of a Justin Moore-fueled Villanova resurgence have been largely unfulfilled to this point. He's been back for 7 games and Villanova is basically what they were before his return--good at home and not so good on the road. It's certainly possible that he is still getting fully reacclimated to gameplay. He's struggled in most games since his return, shooting 31.9% from the field and 24.4% from 3-point range overall. In those 7 games Villanova lost all three away games (and the one on a neutral court) to the best teams in the Big East and won all three at home against the worst teams in the Big East. So where does that leave us? I'd say in the same place we've been all season--Villanova is a good team in the Big East, but not one of the best.

On the other side, life without Zach Freemantle has had less impact than I anticipated. Of course, it will strengthen Xavier to have him back when he returns, but they've been far from hapless without him. They are 3-2, but get ready for a shock, the three wins are at home and the two losses on the road. They beat a very good Providence team by 2 in their first game without him and handled St. John's and DePaul by double digits--as they should.

With or without Justin Moore Nova struggles to eclipse 70 points on the road. With or without Zach Freemantle Xavier regularly drops 80 or more at home. I'll lay the points with the Muskateers.

Pick: Xavier -5.5 (-110) DraftKings (If you have Bovada it's currently -5.)

Miami vs Virginia Tech

This line is so fishy I almost didn't make this one of my plays. Miami has been led by great guard play this year and sit half a game back of Virginia for the lead in the ACC. Virginia Tech is near the bottom with a 6-10 record in conference play. They have been much better at home than on the road, but is it enough to take out a very good Miami team?

Miami is one of the rare teams that has been good on the road this year, going 8-2 ATS. Most recently they won games on the road against North Carolina and Clemson. Virginia Tech had a nice home win against a solid Pittsburgh team the last time out, but in their last five games they also lost to Boston College at home. Not a great look.

If you've been reading my breakdowns you know I put a lot of stock in home court advantage in conference play, but in this case I think the mismatch of talent is big enough to overcome it.

Pick: Miami +2 (-105) WynnBet

Indiana vs Michigan State

It will be an emotional game in East Lansing in the Spartans' first home game since the terrible shooting that took place on campus. It's so hard to know how the emotions of a horrific event like this will play into a basketball game, and trying to figure that out feels irreverent anyway. Obviously, there are many things much more important than a basketball game. So let's just break down the game on the court.

I've said it before, and I'm sure this won't be the last time, but I believe this Indiana team is best suited to play in any matchup in the Big Ten and to make a tournament run. They have one of the best college players in the country in Trace Jackson-Davis and a top-tier NBA prospect in Jalen Hood-Schifino. They play hard on the defensive end and have multiple ways to get it done on offense. They have been better at home, but they've been resilient on the road too. In their most recent road game they were down 19 to a very good Northwestern team and ended up losing by 2.

Michigan State is a solid Big 10 team. They have competent scorers and play good defense. They're not an easy team to beat, but they're also nothing special. They are better at home where they are 5-2 in conference play on the season. Even their losses are to Purdue and Northwestern, nothing to be ashamed of.

I can certainly see this game being close. Indiana has better talent and depth, but playing in East Lansing is never easy. I have this as a pick, so 3.5 seems like a good enough margin to take the visiting Hoosiers.

Pick: Indiana +3.5 BetRivers (-110)

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