NCAA Basketball Picks: Back Seton Hall To Cover ATS vs. Xavier

Ross Benjamin

Sunday, February 28, 2016 12:55 AM UTC

Sunday, Feb. 28, 2016 12:55 AM UTC

Our handicapper breaks down Sunday’s high profile Big East contest between #5 Xavier and Seton Hall. Go inside to find out who he favors with his NCAA Basketball pick, and read exactly why that’s the case. It’s your ultimate betting edge.

Sunday Big East Matinee Affair
Seton Hall will host #5 Xavier on Sunday in an intriguing Big East matchup. The opening tip at the Prudential Center in Newark, New Jersey is slated for 12:30 PM ET. Current (2/27) NCAA Basketball odds at BetOnline have Xavier as a 1.5 point favorite. These teams have met once already, and Xavier came away with an 84-76 home win. The Musketeers barely failed to cover that contest as a 9.0 point favorite, and the game easily went over the total of 147.0.


Two Strong Defensive Teams
Both of these teams have been very good defensively this season, and that’s been especially evident in recent games. Seton Hall has held its last eight opponents to 65 points or less. Their defensive play during that stretch led to seven of those eight games going under the total. That facet of Seton Hall’s game has been consistent all season. They’ve allowed 66.0 points per game, and limited opponents to 39.8% shooting. Xavier has held opponents to a paltry 38.5% from the floor over its previous five games.


Tough Spot for Musketeers
Xavier is coming off an emotional 90-83 home win over top ranked Villanova on Wednesday. Not only did they knock off the #1 team in the nation, they were also able to revenge one of only three losses sustained this season. The Musketeers were humiliated by Villanova in the first meeting by a resounding score of 94-65. Wednesday’s win improved their record to 25-3 overall and 13-3 in Big East action. Now they have to turn around four days later, and face a surging Seton Hall team. It would be difficult to imagine, Xavier being anywhere close to the intensity level and razor sharp focus that they displayed against Villanova, especially so on the road.


Statement Game for Pirates
Seton Hall began the season with a fairly good 13-7 record, but their toughest stretch of games was yet to come. They’ve responded by going 7-1 in their next eight, improved to 20-7, and 10-5 in Big East action. Despite this stellar run, and a 20 win season to date, the Pirates are still considered to be on the proverbial NCAA Tournament bubble. They can go a long way in improving their chances by beating one of the best teams in the country on Sunday. Seton Hall probably matches up better on the boards with Xavier than any other team in the Big East. This will be a golden opportunity for Seton Hall to show they’re for real, and not just a beneficiary of a soft schedule.


Final Take and Pick
I believe the stars are all aligned in a row for Seton Hall on Sunday. They’re playing at home, coming off a strong performance during an 18 point win over Providence on Thursday, and will be playing in their biggest game of the season thus far. The Pirates will be up to the challenge, and will catch Xavier in a flat spot. I’ll be siding with the extremely motivated home team for one of my Sunday NCAA Basketball picks.

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NCAA Basketball Pick: Seton Hall +1.5 
Best Line Offered: at Heritage

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