NCAA Tournament Picks: Xavier vs. Arizona | Top ATS Value on Offer

Joe Gavazzi

Thursday, March 26, 2015 1:18 PM UTC

Thursday, Mar. 26, 2015 1:18 PM UTC

Xavier and Arizona meet tonight on this sweet 16 round. Who will be our pick? Let this handicapper guide you through tonight's decision.

Xavier vs. Arizona (-10-) 10:15 ET TBS
At 10:15 pm ET, Xavier will travel cross country to the Staples Center in Los Angeles, California to face Arizona, who's currently listed on the NCAA Tournament odds as double digit favorite.  This is a notable site advantage for Arizona.  Not only is there a physical proximity to their Tucson location, but it is also a well-established fact that California has become a prime recruiting ground for Arizona 4th year HC Sean Miller and his key recruiter, Barry Rohrssen.  No fewer than 7 Wildcats have links to the Southern California area.


Following a CCT Final loss to Villanova (69-52) (a team reminiscent of Arizona), Xavier got the best of it in last week’s NCAA Tournament games.  They caught Ole Miss following their monumental comeback against BYU in the play-in game, then got Georgia St. in a similar spot after they scored the game’s final 13 points to defeat Baylor.  Remember, however, this is a Xavier team who has already lost 13 times this season.  Their underdog log shows a record of just 5-5 ATS, including double digit losses to Villanova on 3 separate occasions and to Butler by 12.  The Musketeers do shoot a solid 47% from the field and feature an offense that dishes out 16.4 assists.  Yet, they are far inferior to Arizona on the defensive side of the ball.  

Will Arizona & Wisconsin meet again for a regional final?

Arizona is clearly playing their best ball of the year.  Since the start of PAC 12 play in early January, Arizona has gone 21-2 SU, 18-5 ATS. One of the hottest pointspread teams in the land.  This is a team that has it all, including the coaching of Miller.  They have been a Defensive Dandy all year long, as they allow just 59 PPG, 39% from the field, 33% from the arc with a +8.8 rebound margin, they shoot 49% from the field and have a +3 assist/TO margin and +3 net TO margin.  


Xavier interior force, Stainbrook, has no advantage over improved Arizona post player, Tarczewski.  Arizona PG McConnell is easily a match for Dee Davis of Xavier and Rondae Hollis-Jefferson is superior to the Muskies’ Myles Davis. There are major advantages at other positions with top scorer, freshman Stanley Johnson and Brandon Ashley at the power forward spot.  Gabe York, off the bench, is a major 3 point threat. Most impressive is the fact that 26 of 33 Arizona victories this season have come by 10 or more points. That’s good enough for us in a game they figure to win handily, which is why I'm backing them with my NCAA tournament picks.

NCAA Tournament Pick: Arizona -10.5 at Pinnacle

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