In the quarterfinals of the Big East Tournament, the Xavier Musketeers (19-12, 9-9) battle the #22 Butler Bulldogs (22-9, 12-6) on Thursday night. The game tips off at 9:30 pm ET from Madison Square Garden in New York, New York. Butler is currently a 1.5 point favorite.

Xavier enters this game off a win their last time out on March 7th against Creighton 74-73. Xavier finds themselves on the bubble of the NCAA Tournament and needs a good performance against Butler to solidify a position in the field.  The Musketeers are a very good offensive team ranking in the top 30 in points per game (74.7), assists per game (16.9) and field goal percentage (47.8%). They also feature a very balanced scoring attack with no player on their team averaging more than 12 points per game.

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Butler enters the Big East Tournament winners of 3 of their last 4 including a 68-64 win their last time out against Providence. Overall, Butler is very solid team ranking in the top 50 in the country in points allowed per game on defense and near the top 100 in points scored per game. They are led on offense by junior guard Kellen Dunham who averages 16.6 points per game and shoots at an impressive 42.4% from three point range.

Free Pick on Xavier -1.5

Xavier is going to come into this game very motivated to make a statement. They a know a win seals their NCAA Tournament possibilities and a loss will leave them a very nervous team on Sunday. They will also be a confident team having blown out Butler 73-56 on February 21st. Also, the public tends to put more emphasis and more action on the bigger name Butler when these two teams play. This of course means the odds tend to get pushed more favorably toward Xavier. The Muskeeters are 7-1-1 against the spread the last 9 times these teams have played. I think we will see that number go to 8-1-1 the last 10 times as the Muskeeters will cover again.