March Madness Picks: Xavier vs Florida State West Region, Saturday

Jason Lake

Friday, March 17, 2017 5:23 PM UTC

Friday, Mar. 17, 2017 5:23 PM UTC

The Florida State Seminoles squeaked past Dunk City. Will they be a better college basketball pick for Saturday’s second-round game against the Xavier Musketeers?

Xavier vs Florida State

West Region, Saturday, 6:10 p.m. ET

All hail Dunk City. The No. 3 Florida State Seminoles (26-8 SU, 17-13-2 ATS) were laying 12.5 points to the Florida Gulf Coast Eagles in the opening round of March Madness, and as we suspected, that was too many points. The Seminoles only hit two of their 13 trey attempts in an 86-80 win. Money money money.

What’s that? The No. 11 Xavier Musketeers (22-13 SU, 16-18 ATS) are in the Second Round, too? What a country. We had the Musketeers as 2-point puppies versus the Maryland Terrapins, and again, is it really an upset that Xavier won 76-65? Maybe not so much. Anyway, it’s FSU and XU in Saturday’s Round of 32, tipping off at 6:10 p.m. Eastern on TNT, and the ‘Noles are 6-point faves on our NCAAB odds board. Let’s break this bad boy down.

Major Damage

First of all, that’s another tight line right there. Our fine friends at FiveThirtyEight have Florida State winning 70 percent of the time; that’s worth about six points on the spread. However, Ken Pomeroy’s famous efficiency stats have FSU rated about 6.5 points better than Xavier per 100 possessions. That should boil down to around 4.5 points on Saturday with the ‘Noles streaking up and down the court and Xavier operating at a medium pace.

That potential profit margin fits one of the classic narratives in making college basketball picks: Quality mid-majors rule, at-large majors drool. Okay, Xavier isn’t technically a mid-major anymore since moving to the Big East, but c’mon. More importantly, the Musketeers do their best offensive work in the paint, and that’s Florida State’s weakness on defense. Dunk City redux, baby.

Free NCAAB Pick: Xavier +6 (–108)Best Line Offered: at Betmania

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