Xavier, Arizona ‘under’ Total is the NCAA Basketball Pick

LT Profits Sports Group

Thursday, March 26, 2015 6:12 PM UTC

Thursday, Mar. 26, 2015 6:12 PM UTC

Each day the LT Profits Sports Group seeks out a total that simply does not add up and therefore offers the most value that day. Here is their Total Value Play of the Day for Thursday.


There could be a relatively low scoring affair Thursday night in one of the West Region matchups in the Sweet 16 of the NCAA Tournament when the sixth seeded Xavier Musketeers (23-13, 10-10 away/neutral) take on the second seeded Arizona Wildcats (33-3, 16-3 away/neutral) at the Staples Center in Los Angeles, CA at 10:17 ET in a game televised nationally on TBS.

The posted total at Pinnacle Sports is 137 for this contest with the current odds on the ‘under’ set at -108.

Biggest Threat to Kentucky?
Although Arizona is a two-seed, many experts rate the Wildcats as the second best team in the entire country right now after Kentucky, and it is easy to understand why as the these Wildcats are nine points away from being undefeated themselves at 33-3 with the three losses being by two, three and four points respectively, and Arizona is simultaneously ranked seventh in the country in offensive efficiency and third in defensive efficiency.

Also, 26 of Arizona’s 33 wins have been by double-digits and they are one of just two teams ranked in the top 10 in both offensive and defensive efficiency with the other team being, you guessed it, Kentucky.

Xavier finished sixth in the Big East this season with a 9-9 conference mark and they were the losing NCAA Basketball pick to top-seeded Villanova in the Big East Tournament, and yet here the Musketeers stand as the final Big East team still standing this post-season with all five teams that finished ahead of them in the conference eliminated during the first week of this tournament.

Pace Should Favor the ‘under’
If there is one knock against Arizona, it is that they sometimes slow the pace of their games more than they have to given the fine athletes on the team, and that sometimes allows inferior teams to hang around. That was the case in all three of the Wildcats’ losses as all three opponents rallied late after probably being closer than they should have been.

Still, the Wildcats have won 13 straight games after all since losing at Arizona State, so do not expect Coach Sean Miller to change Arizona’s offensive approach here. And when you combine Arizona not playing particularly fast with its defense that ranks 18th in effective field goal percentage allowed at 44.5 percent and does not allow hardly any second chances, in fact leading the country in defensive rebounding percentage, it is quite an ‘under’ conducive combination.

Musketeers Will Not Shoot 67.6 Percent Again, Right?
Now, Xavier did go ‘over’ in a 75-67 win over the Cinderellas from Georgia State on Saturday, but that was while shooting an unconscious 81.3 percent in the second half to finish at 23-for-34, 67.6 percent for the game! Assuming that the Musketeers do not match that shooting performance here, which seems like a safe assumption vs. one of the most stifling defenses in the land, the bigger takeaway from Saturday may have been shooting only 34 shots.

You see, the Musketeers may be 21st in the country in offensive efficiency and 33rd in effective filed goal percentage at 53.5 percent, but they run a methodical offense under their underrated coach Chris Mack, who has the team in its third Sweet 16 in six years, and as a result rank only 151st in tempo rating. And you can bet that Xavier has no interest in quickening the pace here either given the athletic advantage that Arizona seems to have.

Furthermore the Musketeers are more than adequate defensively themselves ranking 57th in defensive efficiency and they too are a good defensive rebounding team ranking 34th in that department, so do not expect a plethora of second opportunities for either team in this contest.

Trending ‘under’ Too
As you might expect, both of these teams have recent solid ‘under’ trends as Xavier’s insane shooting Saturday snapped a 4-0 ‘under’ run while the ‘under’ is also an identical 4-1 in the last five Arizona games overall. The last five Xavier games have averaged 130.4 points combined, as while the last five Arizona games have averaged 137.2 points, that figure is skewed by the one ‘over’ producing a 93-72 final over outclassed Texas Southern in the second round.

Look for the ‘under’ patterns to hold here in a rather slow-paced game when Arizona takes on Xavier in the West Region from Los Angeles on Thursday.

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NCAA Basketball Pick: Xavier, Arizona ‘under’ 137 (-108)


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