NCAA Tournament Picks: Bet Weber State & Xavier To Go 'Over' 147.5

Ross Benjamin

Thursday, March 17, 2016 8:47 PM GMT

Our NCAA Basketball handicapping professional provides us with another insightful betting preview article pertaining to Friday’s NCAA Tourney contest between Weber State and Xavier.

#15 Weber State (26-8) vs. #2 Xavier (27-5) 9:20 PM ET
Big Sky champion Weber State takes on the #9 ranked team in the country Xavier in a first round game on Friday evening. The winner emerging from this contest will face either #7 seed Wisconsin or #10 Pittsburgh on Sunday. Current (3/16) NCAA Tournament odds at Heritage have Xavier as a 13.0 point favorite, and the posted total is 147.5.

 

Huge Step Up in Class for Wildcats
This will be the first game this season for the Weber State Wildcats versus a power conference team. There certainly will be a degree of uncertainty in how they will respond to the challenge, and particularly on college basketball’s biggest stage. Weber State has executed with a high degree of offensive efficiency over its previous four outings, averaging 75.5 points scored per game, and shooting an excellent 51.3% from the floor. As a matter of fact, they rank 18th nationally in field goal percentage offense (48.5%).

The Wildcats are very methodical and plodding offensive team. That’s been especially apparent in recent games. They’ve had just 49 field goal attempts or less in five of its previous six games, and that’s an extremely low output even by college basketball standards. They’ll be hard pressed to play at that slower pace versus Xavier who’s the polar opposite in that regard.

Weber State will have their fair share of momentum heading into “The Big Dance”. They’ve gone an outstanding 23-3 during their previous twenty-six games. They’ve also gone a stellar 6-1 this season in neutral site games, including winning all three during the Big Sky Conference Tournament.

 

Mark of Excellence for Xavier Program
The success that Xavier basketball has enjoyed over the past decade or so sometimes goes highly unnoticed. This will be their tenth trip in eleven years to the NCAA Tournament. Even more impressive has been advancing to the “Sweet 16” in three of its last six appearances. Expectations are much higher than at any other time for the Musketeers. Their #2 seed is the highest in school history.

 

Explosive Offensively
Xavier is 18th nationally in scoring offense at 81.3 points per game. They’ve seen each of their last seven games go over the total (169.1 PPG), and scored 81 points or more in each of those contests. They’re converting on a superb 39.2% of their three point attempts over its previous five games. Unfortunately, their defensive play has sagged a bit recently. Xavier has allowed 83 points or more in four of its last five contests, and the Musketeers opponents have shot 50% or betting during three of their previous four games.

 

Final Take and Pick
I firmly believe both teams will shoot very well on Friday night. Xavier is a deep team which has the right ingredients to force Weber State to play at a much quicker pace than they prefer. The Wildcats may not be given a choice if they happen to fall behind by double digits early in this contest. Relative to the current total, I’m calling for this game to be a high scoring game, and one of my Friday NCAA Tournament picks will concur with that forecast.

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NCAA Basketball Picks: Over 147.5 
Best Line Offered: at 5Dimes