Georgetown vs. Xavier: Prediction, pick, odds, line, point spread, basketball game, tipoff time, preview

Xavier and Georgetown are heading in opposite directions with the regular season winding down. Winners of five of their last seven after beginning Big East play 2-6, the Musketeers’ only losses over that stretch came to ranked teams in Butler and Villanova. The Hoyas, on the other hand, took a 93-72 drubbing from Marquette on Wednesday to mark their third straight loss. 

They’ll pit their runs against one another Sunday, with a NCAA Tournament bid potentially at stake. A Xavier (18-10, 7-8 Big East) victory would bring the battle for fifth in the Big East down to the wire, with Butler and Marquette only owning one-game leads. Georgetown (15-13, 5-10) needs a win now with tough matchups against Creighton and Villanova looming. 

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Xavier: History is on Xavier’s side Sunday. The Musketeers are 7-1 over their last eight against Georgetown, with an impressive +59 point differential to match. Their most recent meeting was a 66-57 Xavier home win on Jan. 22. Naji Marshall dropped 18 points, four steals and five assists in that game, one of his most well-rounded performances of the year. He’ll look to make a similar impact the second time around. Against DePaul Tuesday, Marshall scored 23 points — his second highest total this season.

Georgetown: Georgetown’s depth dwindled earlier this season when starting point guard James Akinjo and three reserves transferred. It got even thinner once Mac McClung and Omer Yurtseven began missing time with lower-body injuries. McClung, Georgetown’s second-leading scorer (15.7 points per game), hasn’t played since Jan. 28 and his status for Sunday is unknown; Yurtseven’s been out since Feb. 22. Georgetown needs both, but especially Yurtseven. The 7-foot big man is the Hoyas’ best counter against Xavier, which is tied for the Big East lead in rebounding (39.4). 

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Game prediction, pick 

Latest odds via SportsLine: Xavier -1          

Georgetown’s had it rough the last month regardless of the venue. So even with the Hoyas at home, I think Xavier -1 is the play here. The Musketeers have quietly strung together five wins in their last seven and may feel particularly compelled to cushion their NCAA Tournament resume — where Jerry Palm has them as a projected 9 seed — ahead of Selection Sunday in two weeks. I expect them to do exactly that. Pick: Xavier -1 (Kyle Boone) 

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