After an exciting first weekend, the Sweet 16 in Kansas City is set and the bottom half of the Midwest Region features No. 2-seeded Texas vs No. 3-seeded Xavier.
Everyone loves the upsets of the NCAA Tournament, but this chalky Sweet 16 matchup between two of the most experienced teams in the nation is going to be a fantastic ball game.
Xavier had to battle to beat Kennesaw St. in the opener but cruised to a win over Pitt behind a fantastic offensive performance. After losing star center Zach Freemantle, it’s won seven of its last eight with everyone doing their part to step up and fill the void.
Texas controlled most of the game using its size and length to bother a dangerous Penn State team. The Nittany Lions went on a 10-0 run that saw Penn State take the lead with just under 5 minutes to go, but the Longhorns closed the game on a 16-8 run to survive and advance.
It was far from Texas’ best performance of the year, as it shot just 1 of 13 from three but senior Dylan Disu dominated with a season-high 28 points and 10 rebounds.
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Texas vs Xavier Odds
Note: CBB odds mentioned in this article for Texas vs Xavier were used from DraftKings Sportsbook, unless otherwise noted, and are current as of Monday, March 20, at 1 p.m. ET.
- Moneyline: Texas (-190) • Xavier (+160)
- Spread: Texas -4 (-110) • Xavier +4 (-110)
- Total: Over 147.5 (-110) • Under 147.5 (-110)
Texas vs Xavier Pick of the Day
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Texas vs Xavier Prediction
Texas 78, Xavier 72
Texas is too talented on both ends for this Xavier team that is missing a key defensive piece in Freemantle. But this should be an excellent back-and-forth game.
The Longhorns used their length and size against an undersized Penn State team, led by 28 points from Disu, but they’ll need the trio of guards — Marcus Carr, Sir’Jabari Rice, and Tyrese Hunter — to play much better in this one.
Texas shot just 1-for-13 from beyond the arc, but what makes Texas dangerous is its ability to win games without having its best night. It’s comfortable pushing the tempo or slowing it, it can lean on its defense, or score with anyone with a balanced scoring attack.
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Xavier will look to push the tempo (33rd in adjusted tempo) and is seventh in offensive efficiency, according to KenPom.
The loss of Freemantle looms, but senior Jack Nunge has stepped up in a big way — blocking the last-second shot against Kennesaw St and scoring a team-high 18 points in the win over Pitt.
Another senior, Souley Boum, has done it all in this tournament for the Musketeers — averaging 15.5 points, 3.5 assists, and six rebounds in the opening two games. Boum has made just one out of 12 attempts from beyond the arc in this tournament, but he shot 40% from beyond the arc this season.
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Texas vs Xavier Best Bets
Texas -4 (-110) • DraftKings Sportsbook
WAGER: 1 Unit
Texas is too talented, in a far better place in terms of injuries, and it is able to pull away late to cover this spread.
Xavier’s defense has had its issues this season and missing Freemantle — a big piece of the interior defense — is too much to overcome against an experienced and balanced Texas scoring attack.
The Longhorns can win games however they need to but in this one, the guard play takes over late, knocking down a couple of huge threes late to advance.
Over 147.5 • DraftKings Sportsbook
WAGER: 1 Unit
Tempo, tempo, tempo.
Xavier is going to look to push the tempo and Texas will be more than happy to oblige as a team that is comfortable in any type of game.
Both offenses have had their struggles from three through their first two games, but I believe we see a regression back toward the mean with a high-scoring, back-and-forth contest. The balanced scoring attacks make both these two tough to guard, even with the gift of extra days of preparation.
KenPom does not agree with the oddsmakers on this one, projecting 154 points, significantly more than the total of 147.5.