The Pittsburgh Panthers will look to continue their run in the NCAA Tournament when they take on the 3-seeded Xavier Musketeers in the Round of 32.
Pittsburgh was one of the last teams to make the tourney after narrowly escaping with a win against Mississippi State in their First Four matchup. The Panthers then dominated Iowa State in the first round, holding the Cyclones to just 41 points.
Xavier lost one of its best players, Zach Freemantle, to a season-ending injury in late January, but they kept their composure and won five of their last six heading into the tournament. The Musketeers went into halftime of their first-round matchup with 14-seed Kennesaw State down seven but staged a 15-0 second-half rally to advance to the second round.
Will Xavier finally knock Pittsburgh out of the NCAA Tournament? Read on for my Xavier Musketeers vs. Pittsburgh Panthers prediction and best bets.
Jason Radowitz’s March Madness Betting Record: 2-4 (-2.5 units)
Xavier vs Pittsburgh Odds
Note: CBB odds mentioned in this article for Xavier vs Pittsburgh were used from DraftKings Sportsbook, unless otherwise noted, and are current as of Saturday, March 18, at 10:15 a.m. ET.
- Moneyline: Xavier (-210) • Pittsburgh (+180)
- Spread: Xavier -5 (-110) • Pittsburgh +5 (-110)
- Total: Over 152 (-110) • Under 152 (-110)
Xavier vs Pittsburgh Pick of the Day
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Xavier vs Pittsburgh Prediction
Xavier 78, Pittsburgh 76
The Xavier Musketeers shot just 2-for12 from downtown against Kennesaw State in the Round of 64. That’s entirely unlike the Musketeers as they shot over 39% from three throughout the season.
I’d expect Xavier to hit more shots, even against a Pittsburgh team that smothered Iowa State in the first round.
Meanwhile, the Panthers have shot 36.1% from three, 51.8% from inside the arc, and 76.2% from the foul line. Those numbers should be good enough to stick around with Xavier offensively and at least earn the cover.
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Xavier vs Pittsburgh Best Bets
Pittsburgh +5 (-110) • DraftKings Sportsbook
WAGER: 1 Unit
Pittsburgh’s defense has held opponents to an average of 50 points per game through two tournament games. That’s not going to happen against Xavier.
Xavier should get theirs on offense, and that will force Pittsburgh to try to keep pace. We’ll likely get multiple lead changes throughout the game, so I’m comfortable adding Pittsburgh +5 to my betting portfolio.
Over 152 Total Points (-110) • DraftKings Sportsbook
WAGER: 1 Unit
Pittsburgh has the 27th-best offensive efficiency in college basketball, according to KenPom. Meanwhile, Xavier is eighth. In a tight game between two outstanding offenses, I expect a solid pace of play and great shot-making.
Neither team is going to force many turnovers in this game, either. That ultimately means plenty of scoring opportunities for both teams, including an ample amount of trips to the free throw line.
Jack Nunge: Over 7.5 Rebounds (-120) • DraftKings Sportsbook
WAGER: 1 Unit
With plenty of shots going up in this second-round matchup, someone’s got to clean the glass.
Xavier’s 7-foot center Jack Nunge is that guy.
Nunge averaged 7.9 rebounds per game in just under 29 minutes per game this year for the Musketeers and is coming off an 11-rebound performance against Kennesaw State, where he played 36 minutes.
Barring foul trouble, he’ll likely earn 30 or more minutes in this game, and that should be more than enough for Nunge to get his eight boards.
Xavier vs Pittsburgh Same Game Parlay
Xavier vs Pittsburgh SGP (+150) • DraftKings Sportsbook
WAGER: 0.25 Units
- Pittsburgh +4.5 (-115)
- Pittsburgh: Over 74.5 Points (-105)
I like Pittsburgh to keep this game close throughout. To do that, they’ll need to keep up with a Xavier offense that should get back on track from three-point land in this one.
Xavier vs Pittsburgh Props
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