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The first two rounds of the NCAA Tournament are complete, and we’ll look to see if there’s any more March Madness in the Sweet Sixteen.
For this matchup, however, between Texas and Xavier, we have two teams that are Final Four hopefuls in this March Madness on CBS Midwest Region showdown.
Here, we’ll look at who will move on to the Elite Eight and show you a sportsbook welcome bonus you should consider leveraging in your NCAA Tournament betting.
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After a close call in the opening round, Xavier bounced back against No. 11 Pittsburgh, winning 84-73. They improved on their three-point percentage, but it was still low compared to their per-game average of close to 40%—they shot 33% from behind the arch.
Thankfully, the Musketeers had a second first half, scoring 48 points because they were outscored 39-36 in the second half. The difference proved inconsequential, but after facing two double-digit seeds, Xavier must get back on track against the higher-seeded Longhorns.
We know that Xavier can score on offense. As mentioned, they scored 84 against Pitt and scored 82 or more in two of their three Big East Tournament games.
The problem for them is their defense. They allowed 67 to Kennesaw State and 72 to Pittsburgh.
The Musketeers will look to outpace the Longhorns on offense here.
Xavier had seven players on the court against Pittsburgh, and six scored double-digit points. Jack Nunge led the way with 18 points, and Souley Boum (14 points, 5 assists, 7 rebounds) and Colby Jones (10 points, 7 assists, 14 rebounds) stuffed the stat sheet.
On the year, Xavier shoots close to 40% from the three-point range, but they’ve failed to reach that average in the tournament's first two rounds. That said, they did score 84 against Pittsburgh, so if they manage to nudge closer to their 39.12% average, their offense could explode even more.
The problem for Xavier is that they’ll face Texas, who ranks 39th in the country in points per game (77.8). Xavier is 11th in the nation, but their defense ranks 281st in opponent points per game at 73.8 compared to Texas, which allows less than 68 points per game.
When looking at the teams' seedings, No. 3 Xavier has had an easier path, beating No. 15 Kennesaw State and a No. 11 Pittsburgh team that also was back of the First Four matchups.
Xavier is one of two top-three teams to play against consecutive double-digit seed teams to open the tournament, with the other being—you guessed it—Texas.
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In the Round of 32, Texas took on a scrappy Penn State team that downed Texas A&M and barely lost to Purdue in the Big Ten tournament. After scoring 81 against Colgate, Penn State’s defense held Texas to 71, but fell 71-66.
Heading into the tournament Texas was known for being a great two-way team, having a top offense and solid defense. Against Penn State, Texas showed up in the second half. They scored 40 points after scoring just 31 in the first. However, they were outscored 43-40.
Xavier is the better offense on a per-game points average, but with a better defense, Texas will need to slow down Xavier just enough to offset their difference in offensive capabilities.
In the opening round of March Madness, Texas shot an alarmingly high 56.5% from three-point range. Well, they crashed back down to Earth and then some against Penn State, making just one of 13 tries (7.7%). However, Texas isn’t necessarily known for shooting threes, as they rank 169th in three-point percentage at 34.13%. Where they excel is defending three-pointers, allowing just over 32%, which is less than Xavier’s performance against Pittsburgh.
Texas likes to keep up the pace, ranking 46th in the nation in fast break points per game (12.19) and scoring 116.5 points per 100 possessions.
In the tournament, Texas has had contributions from numerous players. Still, against Penn State, Dylan Disu rose to the occasion, scoring 28 points and nabbing 10 rebounds.
As mentioned, Texas is the only other top-three-seeded team to face back-to-back double-digit seed teams.
Although a No. 10 seed, Penn State proved late in the year to be a real threat, but Texas only allowed them to score 67 points, even after a 43-point second half.
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Team Texas ATS Record: 18-18
Team Xavier ATS Record: 19-16-1
147.5 (Over -110; Under -110)
147.5 (Over -110; Under -110)
In this battle of two top seeds, Texas and Xavier enter as two top-40 offenses in the NCAA men’s basketball, with Xavier ranking 11th and Texas 39th. However, there’s a clear discrepancy in how each team performs on defense, with Texas allowing 91.7 points per 100 possessions and Xavier allowing nearly 99 points per 100 possessions.
Xavier has traditionally been a fantastic three-point shooting team, shooting over 39% from deep, but they’ve fallen short of that mark in their first two games of the tournament.
Texas defends three-point shots well, holding opponents to just 32% from behind the arch.
Ultimately, this will be a matchup between two good offenses and one solid defense, and one poor one.
At FanDuel Sportsbook, Xavier is -118 at +4.5. This line indicates we may get movement to +5. If this happens, I’d feel comfortable taking Xavier, as their offense is one of the best in the nation. Texas will win this game, but the margin of victory should be pretty small. Both team has excellent starting five’s with each of Xavier’s players averaging double-digit points.
We’re taking Texas to win, 77-74.
The Big 12 is 7-5 to this point, and the Big East has the same number of wins, but three fewer losses, coming in at 7-2. Below, we’ll look at each team, and how conferences have performed in each game.
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After graduating from the University of New Hampshire with a BA in Journalism, Richard Janvrin has been covering iGaming and sports betting since December 2018. Richard has covered betting at Bleacher Report, Gambling.com, The Game Day, Forbes, and more.More info on Richard Janvrin
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