NCAA Basketball Picks: Michigan Defense to Set the Pace vs. X-Men

David Lawrence

Friday, November 20, 2015 12:45 PM GMT

Friday, Nov. 20, 2015 12:45 PM GMT

The Xavier Musketeers made the NCAA tournament last season, while the Michigan Wolverines did not. What would be the best NCAA basketball pick for us here? Let's review the NCAA Basketball odds.

Momentum
The Musketeers are off to a decent start, even though they know that the challenge of building a good profile is just beginning. Xavier took care of Miami of Ohio in an in-state battle to start the season, and then the Musketeers handled Missouri by 12 points a few nights ago. This team has averaged 79.5 points per game and has adjusted well on offense to the shorter 30-second shot clock. Xavier has not allowed its defense to fall far behind the pace in light of the newer and stricter rules on fouling, contact, and hand-checking, so with the offense performing at a level that was hoped for, the team is 2-0 and generally doing what it is supposed to do. The task in this game will be to carry that smooth offense, which is easier to establish on one’s home court, and carry it into a road environment. Being able to function steadily will be something Mack will tell his players before they take the court in this game.

A lot of people had Michigan for their college football picks in their opener and they eased past Elon in its first game of the season. The Wolverines also know that the level of competition is going to get stiffer in the form of Xavier and the other teams which lurk in the not-too-distant future. The main problem with Michigan last season was injuries. The Wolverines could not stay healthy. They were pounded at various positions and had to send a ragtag unit to the court in many of their games, especially during the bulk of the Big Ten season. It’s refreshing to have Caris LeVert and Zak Irvin back, although Irvin is not 100-percent healthy. They need to be on the safe side with him so that he’ll be there for the Big Ten schedule. Derrick Walton and Spike Albrecht form a quick and experienced backcourt which should really help out over the course of the season.

 

Home-Away Trends
Xavier is playing its first road game of the season. Michigan won its first home game against Elon a few nights ago.

 

Injuries
Xavier is not dealing with any injuries right now.

Michigan guard Zak Irvin is probable with a back injury.

 

What’s The Pick?
The Musketeers had a much better season than the Wolverines last year, but that was because of injuries. This game is going to be more of a test for Michigan, because the Wolverines didn’t get a chance to show what they could do with a full roster last season. Now that Michigan has a lot of people back, the Wolverines need to show themselves and Beilein that they can work well together and the NCAA Basketball odds show as much. If they can in this game, the Maize and Blue should do very well. Expect Michigan’s defense to be the difference in this game.Take them with your NCAA Basketball picks.

Free NCAA Basketball Pick: Michigan -5.5 at BetOnline

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