According to a report Tuesday from Matt Norlander of CBS Sports, Xavier (17-5 straight up, 12-9-1 against the spread) senior power forward Zach Freemantle is going to miss a month of action due to a foot injury.
Xavier head coach Sean Miller told Norlander that the injury is to the same foot that Freemantle had surgery on in the fall of 2021 for a stress reaction. He started to experience some discomfort in last week’s win over UConn before feeling severe pain in Saturday’s 84-67 loss at Creighton.
“We’re optimistic he’d return the last week of the season or be available for the Big East Tournament,” Miller told CBS Sports. “Sooner than that is not an option. Coming back sooner would put him further at risk.”
Freemantle is averaging 15.2 points, 8.1 rebounds, 2.9 assists, 0.9 steals and 0.7 blocked shots per game. He’s been lights out from both the field and 3-point range, draining 58.5 percent of his FGAs and 63.6 percent of his launches from downtown. He’s produced double-doubles in four of the Musketeers’ last eight games.
Xavier is tied with both Providence (17-5 SU, 14-8 ATS) and Marquette at the top of the Big East standings with identical 9-2 conference records. Miller’s team is listed as a 3.5-point home favorite tonight vs. the Friars, who have won 12 of their last 14 games and are 5-1 ATS with four outright wins in their last six games as underdogs.
The Musketeers are 11-1 in 12 home games this year, winning by double-digit margins eight times. Meanwhile, Ed Cooley’s squad is 4-3 SU and 5-2 ATS in seven road assignments.
Freemantle’s injury will not require surgery. Miller told Norlander that the plan is for him to wear a walking boot for two weeks. Then he’ll begin walking on a treadmill and doing shooting drills without a boot.
Look for senior forward Jerome Hunter and freshman Desmond Claude to see increased minutes. In 22 games, Hunter is averaging 6.1 points and 3.4 RPG. Claude averages 3.4 points, 2.0 rebounds and 1.9 APG.
Xavier’s regular-season finale is at home vs. Butler on March 4.