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Missouri Tigers at Xavier Musketeers Betting Preview

The Missouri Tigers will head to Cincinnati Tuesday night to play the Xavier Musketeers. Both teams are 2-0 on the season, as the latest AP poll has Xavier ranked at No. 21 in the nation, while Missouri remains out of the Top 25 discussion for the time being. It’ll be the first major test for either team this year, and it would certainly be a contest that could put the Tigers on the map.

Missouri has been getting contributions from all over the court in its first two contests. Jeremiah Tilmon Jr. and all three of the Smith boys (Mitchell, Dru and Mark) have had a decent couple of games. It’s been the same story for Xavier, as major contributions thus far from Naji Marshall, Tyrique Jones, and Paul Scruggs have helped them find their way to a 2-0 record. Xavier is a six-point favorite heading into the matchup, while the over/under is set at 137.5.

Roaring Its Ugly Head

Head coach Cuonzo Martin aims to change the culture at Missouri and put the basketball team back on the map. In his first few seasons as head coach, he seems to be in somewhat of a battle for recruits with two out-of-conference rivals, as Martin has taken recruits from both Illinois and basketball powerhouse Kansas.

Regardless of how he’s getting it done, Martin has managed to put a quality product on the court this season. Tilmon looks to continue what he did a year ago, averaging over 10 points and six rebounds per game. He’s already at over 14 points per game this season, to go with the six blocks he has in the first two contests.

Former Illinois transfer Mark Smith is also off to a good start with the Tigers this season. Smith looks to improve from his first season with Missouri when he put up over 11 points per game and shot 45 percent from beyond the arc. If Smith continues to improve his game, the Tigers could sneak their way into the AP rankings sooner rather than later.

The Three Musketeers

Xavier already has three of its starters averaging in double-digits in points this season. Naji Marshall has 18.5 per to go along with his 5.5 assists and seven rebounds, while Tyrique Jones also has 18.5 to go along with his 8.5 rebounds and 1.5 blocks per game. Paul Scruggs has also entered double digits, bringing in 12 per game so far.

Head coach Travis Steele looks to improve on last season when the Musketeers finished .500 in conference play while failing to make the NCAA Tournament. Xavier finished the season with an overall record of 19-16. Steele needs his team to step up if they hope to return to the dance this season.

A New Day

Without much to go on for this season, one must rely on history and talent level to predict the early-season chaos that is college basketball. In this case, Xavier is obviously the better all-around team, but as far as individually talented players go, Missouri can at least give them a run for their money.

Xavier is 5-3 in the eight battles it has had with the Tigers. The Musketeers are 2-0 overall and 0-2 against the spread this season. Mizzou sits at 2-0 both overall and against the spread this year. It’s early, and so far this season, the eyeball test tells me that Missouri can stay with Xavier here. Take the points and watch Missouri keep it close. The pick is Missouri +6.

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