NCAA Tournament Picks: Depth & Athleticism Give Xavier The Edge vs. Wisconsin

Ross Benjamin

Saturday, March 19, 2016 9:58 PM GMT

Saturday, Mar. 19, 2016 9:58 PM GMT

Our NCAA Basketball analyst provides us with a very informative betting preview pertaining to Sunday’s NCAA Tournament second round game between Wisconsin and Xavier.

#7 Wisconsin vs. #2 Xavier 8:40 PM ET
Wisconsin and Xavier will square off in a NCAA Tournament East Region second round game on Sunday night. These teams last met during the 2009 NCAA Tournament, and Xavier defeated Wisconsin 60-49 in that contest. The current NCAA Tournament odds at BetOnline have Xavier as a 4.5 point favorite, and the posted total is 136.0. This will be the lowest total Xavier has seen all season. Their previous low of 137.0 came way back on 12/8/15 in a home game against Wright State. Contrarily, this number will be the second highest Wisconsin has seen since early January. My point, this game will be a stark contrast in styles.

 

First Round Games
Wisconsin was involved in what was arguably the least entertaining of the thirty-two first round games. The Badgers rallied from a 26-16 halftime deficit to defeat #10 seed Pittsburgh by a diminutive final score of 47-43. Their 16 points scored during the first half was a NCAA Tournament all time record low. Hardly a distinction a team wants to be remembered for. Despite that anemic offensive output, they were able to survive and advance. Wisconsin shot an awful 32.1% in that contest, and they’re now a combined 33-106 (31.1%) during its previous two games. It also was the ninth game to go under the total in Wisconsin’s last ten contests.

Xavier was seemingly in control from start to finish during a workmanlike 71-53 win over #15 seed Weber State on Friday. The win improved the Musketeers overall record to a sparkling 28-5. Xavier covered as a sizable 13.5 point favorite, and the game stayed under the total of 147.0. It was the first time in eight games that Xavier failed to go over the total. The Musketeers shot a stellar 48.4% from the floor, and held a huge 43-28 rebounding advantage over Weber State. They also held the Wildcats to just 38.6% shooting for the game.

 

Final Take and Pick
Wisconsin has certainly made for a nice story this season. After enduring the sudden retirement of veteran head coach Bo Ryan earlier in the season, and starting 9-9, they went on a nice roll that saw them win eleven of its last thirteen regular season games. I firmly believe that Xavier is way too deep from a personnel standpoint, much too athletic, and presents challenges that Wisconsin will have a difficult time coping with. I’ll be going with the small favorite for one of my Sunday NCAA Tournament picks.

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NCAA Basketball Pick: Xavier -4.5
Best Line Offered: at 5Dimes

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