Thursday Night CBB Televised Tilts

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By Doug Upstone of 3DailyWinners

Xavier at Cincinnati
7:00 ET, ESPN2
Line – Cincinnati -8.5, 129.5

One of the better city rivalries in college basketball is in Cincinnati. For most of the season, Xavier (8-4, 2-8-1 ATS) has played like a team searching for an identity and coach Chris Mack is well aware of it. Go-to scorers have been in short supply, thus Mack has placed a greater emphasis on defense and playing time has to do with practice and quality effort. Sophomore guard Mark Lyons has been excellent penetrator and found Tu Holloway for open looks. Xavier is 20-10 OVER after playing a game as favorite.

Despite playing basketball for nearly two months, the basketball experts don’t know what to make of Cincinnati (14-0, 6-2 ATS). Are they better than their projected middle of the pack preseason rankings in the Big East? Maybe. Will their suffocating full-court defensive pressure continue to force miscues against better competition? Maybe. Will opponents be able to limit the scoring of freshman Sean Kilpatrick and junior Dion Dixon, who have carried the scoring load, and force Bearcats players to look elsewhere? Quite possibly. The Bearcats are 2-10 ATS in home games after playing a game as favorite since 2008.

Xavier is 9-4 and 8-4-1 ATS in past 13 physical meetings.

3Daily Winners Line – Cincinnati - 7

Northwestern at Illinois
9:00 ET, ESPN2
Line – Illinois -9, 143.5

After a quick start, Illinois (12-3, 8-7 ATS) has looked ragged the past few weeks. Effort and desire from the big people has reared its ugly head yet again for coach Bruce Weber. Seemingly, the Fighting Illini have a number of “nice” players on their squad, but coach Weber needs a few maulers who want to mix it up. Another emerging weakness is ball-handler besides point guard Demetri McCamey. If Illinois can play free-flowing pass offense and find the open man, they will most likely be successful; the problem arises when they face more defensive pressure. Illinois is 2-6 ATS playing only second game in eight days.

Since coach Bill Carmody arrived in Evanston, where the points were going to come from on a consistent basis was in question. With his ability to recruit better athletes to Northwestern, that question has and is being answered. Now Carmody has something else to concern himself with, will the Wildcats be willing to play defense? The defensive numbers don’t appear bad, but Northwestern has been torched for 52 percent or more three times, that won’t work in the Big Ten. The ‘Cats are 7-0 ATS versus good passing teams, averaging 16 or more assists a game, after they have played 15 or more contests the last three seasons.

Illinois is 10-1 with 5-6 spread mark in Champaign vs. in-state rival.

3Daily Winners Line – Illinois -11
 

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