Texas vs Xavier Betting Preview
Friday’s Texas vs Xavier matchup in the Sweet Sixteen features two of the best offenses in college basketball this season. The Longhorns have opened as a four-point favorite over the Musketeers, with the total sitting at 147.5 points.
NCAA Tournament Sweet Sixteen Betting Odds
|Friday, March 24||NCAA Tournament Betting Notes, Courtesy of Caesars|
|Point Spread:||Texas Longhorns -4 vs Xavier Musketeers|
|Arena:||T-Mobile Center in Kansas City, Missouri|
|Game Time:||9:45pm ET / 6:45pm PT|
Texas vs Xavier Analysis
The Longhorns will get to enjoy a unique opportunity that we don’t see in the NCAA Tournament very often: They get to play their NCAA regional in the same building where they just won the Big XII Tournament two weeks ago. Texas won three games in the T-Mobile Center to capture the conference title, so the Longhorns are certainly familiar with the layout of the arena.
Texas compares well to teams that have given Xavier trouble in the Big East this season. The Musketeers entered this season with incredible size, namely Zach Freemantle at 6-9 and seven-footer Jack Nunge. Freemantle suffered a foot injury at the end of January and Sean Miller has been forced to reconfigure his rotation and strategy. The teams that beat Xavier at the end of the regular season all have a fairly similar profile. Villanova, Creighton and Marquette are all top-70 in the country in three-point volume. Creighton has seven-footer Ryan Kalkbrenner, but outside of him, the Blue Jays, Wildcats and Eagles are all relatively short and don’t rely on an interior presence. They were able to put Nunge in difficult defensive situations and worked the ball around him.
Texas is equipped to do the exact same thing. Dylan Disu is a 6-9 senior that will draw the defensive assignment on Nunge, but outside of him, the Longhorns’ primary contributors are guards and slashers that will draw Nunge away from the basket. Marquette won two of its three regular season meetings with Xavier, out-scoring the Musketeers by 11 over the course of their trilogy. Who coaches Marquette? Shaka Smart. Who was Texas’ coach at this time two years ago? Shaka Smart. It won’t be hard to pick up on some of the things that worked for the Eagles in their series with Xavier.
Xavier is No. 311 in the country in bench usage this season, and Sean Miller only used seven guys in both of his opening games. Jack Nunge fouled out of the game against Pitt. That’s concerning against a Texas team that’s going to put pressure on your from the opening whistle. Tightening your rotation in March is one thing, but Miller really seems to be riding his core group. If any of them get into foul trouble or have an issue, can Miller trust his reserves?
Cincinnati to Kansas City is a relatively easy trip so we expect plenty of Xavier support in the stands, but Texas’ familiarity with the building is pretty important. The Longhorns got a real nice warmup two weeks ago when they dispatched Oklahoma State, TCU and Kansas. Texas earned a nice win over Penn State, despite shooting 1-for-13 from three-point range. If you can beat quality opponents by going 1-for-13 from three-point range, that’s the kind of team we want to back in March. Lay the small number with Texas on Friday.
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