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The Wake Forest Demon Deacons look to get back on the winning track as they host the Xavier Musketeers on Saturday in a non-conference battle. Wake Forest fell to NC State last Saturday, 91-82, while Xavier beat Cincinnati, 73-66, also last Saturday.
Xavier looks to extend winning streakThe 23rd ranked Xavier Musketeers have won three games in a row entering Saturday's game. In their most recent victory, over the Cincinnati Bearcats, Naji Marshall had a career game for the Musketeers. He tied a career-high with 31 points and set a career-high in steals with five. He was joined in double figures by Tyrique Jones, who had 10 points in the victory. Xavier shot 46.7% from the floor against the Bearcats and 31.6% from three-point range.
“Naji’s a big time player,” Xavier head coach Travis Steele said on Fox19.com. “I believe in him and he was ready for it. [The Crosstown Shootout] is a players’ game. He was the best player on the floor and I don’t even think it was close tonight."
Marshall, who has scored 31 and 24 points in his last two games, is averaging 17.0 points per game to lead the way for the Musketeers. Paul Scruggs scores 14.2 points per game, while Jones averages nearly a double-double with 13.8 points and 9.4 rebounds per game. Xavier is averaging 73.6 points per game and shoots 43.3% from the floor and just 28.1% from three-point range. The strength of Xavier's team is their defense, as they are in the top 45 in the country in scoring defense (62.8 points per game), shooting defense (38.7%), three-point shooting defense (27.6%), and rebounds (40.2 rebounds per game).
Demon Deacons look to end losing skidThe Wake Forest Demon Deacons have lost three straight games after beginning the season 5-2. Brandon Childress pumped in 30 points for the Demon Deacons in their loss to NC State on 10-13 shooting, including 5-6 from three-point range. Olivier Sarr nearly had a double-double off the bench with 12 points and nine rebounds. Wake Forest shot 51.9% from the floor and 53.3% from three-point range, however they allowed NC State to shoot 52.3% from the floor and 54.4% from three-point range (12-22).
Wake Forest is averaging 73.5 points per game, led by Childress, who averages 16.6 points per game. Sarr averages 13.1 points and 9.5 rebounds per game, while Chaundee Brown scores 11 points per game. The Demon Deacons shoot 42% from the floor and 35.4% from three-point range, which is 92nd in the country. They have the 43rd best foul shooting team, making 75.7% from the line.
The following supporting trends found on oddsshark.com are:
- The Demon Deacons are 3-16 ATS in their last 19 Saturday games
- The Musketeers are 4-1 ATS in their last five road games
The Bottom Line What to bet on this game.
Full-Game Side Bet
The Xavier Musketeers and the Wake Forest Demon Deacons are teams heading in opposite directions right now. Xavier's only loss of the season was to a pretty good Florida team and they have won three straight since that loss. Wake Forest has dropped three straight games since opening the season with a 5-2 record. The Musketeers have won their nine games by an average of 12.6 points per game, with five double digit wins. Naji Marshall has really put it together recently for Xavier, scoring 55 points in their last two games. Look for another big night from him and another double digit win for the Musketeers.
Prediction: Xavier -3.5
Full-Game Total Pick
Despite shooting over 50% in their last game, Wake Forest is a poor shooting team, ranking 207th in field goal percentage, while Xavier isn't much better, ranking 166th in the country. The Demon Deacons and the Musketeers like to play an up tempo game, ranking 74th and 108th, respectively, in pace of play. Xavier has a good defense and a bad shooting team, especially from three-point range. Their offense ranks 309th in three-point percentage at 28.1, and their defense is 29th in opponents three-point shooting at 27.6%. Look for both teams to struggle from beyond the arc, which will keep the score low. Four of the last five meetings between these two teams have gone under, and this game will continue that trend.
Prediction: Under 142