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The beauty of March Madness is in full view when the Midwest Region bracket brings together a classic version of David versus Goliath! With the NCAA Tournament ready to get in full swing later this week, we've got the best betting bonuses and predictions to help you win your wagers!
The NCAA Tournament on Friday night will feature a matchup between Xavier and Kennesaw State! It should be a difficult match for the average viewer to predict, as these teams have faced each other just once, which was back in 2004! If you want the best sportsbook bonuses and game predictions, read on to get the edge for when Kennesaw State and Xavier face off!
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Head Coach: Amir Abdur-Rahim
Record: 26-8 (15-3, 1st in A-Sun)
It's always an exciting time when schools have the opportunity to make the NCAA Tournament, and for Kennesaw State, it'll be their first time! The Owls have been in fantastic form to enter the tournament, winning eight of their last ten games, including a one-point victory over Liberty to win the A-Sun Conference title!
Against the Atlantic Sun Conference, Kennesaw State is an excellent offensive team that scores 78.5 points per game (1st in the A-Sun) and dishes 15.1 assists per game (1st in the A-Sun) on 47.7% shooting from the field. They'll play their uptempo game against Xavier's own offensive pace.
Kennesaw State finished the season with a 26-8 overall record while also going 15-3 in the A-Sun Conference. While they don't project to threaten Xavier in the opening round seriously, their offensive output and tremendous form can inspire any team to an upset!
Diminutive guard Terrell Burden is the driving force of his Kennesaw State Owls team. The shifty point guard is averaging 13.5 points, 4.2 rebounds, and 3.1 assists on 48.9% shooting from the field despite scoring just 0.7 threes per game.
Burden's backcourt mate Chris Youngblood completes the Owls' threat from the point of attack. The 6-4 junior is averaging 14.7 points and 4.8 rebounds per game while converting 2.3 three-point field goals on 41.1% efficiency.
As Kennesaw State's only true big man, Demond Robinson's play may define how successful the Owls can be in the early going.
Head Coach: Sean Miller
Record: 25-9 (15-5, 2nd in the Big East)
The Xavier Musketeers return to the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 2018. After fighting their way to second in the Big East, the Musketeers are ready to make some noise in the Midwest Region bracket.
The Musketeers earned second place in the Big East from their fantastic offensive play. They averaged 81.6 points per game (1st in the Big East) and 19.6 assists per game (1st in the Big East) on 49.7% from the field (1st in the Big East) and 39.3% from three-point range (1st in the Big East).
Xavier enter this tournament in decent form, having won six of their last ten games despite being knocked out of the Conference Tournament by Big East Champions Marquette. The Musketeers boast an excellent offense, but after allowing 75.6 points per game (8th in the Big East) on 44.8% efficiency (5th in the NBA), they'll need to be wary against an upstart team with whom they're not familiar.
Xavier was the top-scoring team in the Big East, and much of their success came from the efforts of junior swingman Colby Jones. Capable of playing both backcourt positions, Jones averages 15.2 points, 5.4 rebounds, and 4.3 assists.
Senior point guard Souley Boum completes the Musketeers' threatening backcourt. Averaging 16.5 points, 4.3 rebounds, and 4.4 assists, Boum is as much of a threat as his running mate Jones.
And remember big man Jack Nunge, averaging a career-best 14.1 points, 7.8 rebounds, and 1.1 threes per game on 52.4% from the field and 42.4% from three.
Xavier opened this game as 11-point favorites over their opponent Kennesaw State. Both teams have been offensive juggernauts in their respective conferences, with the points total for this game set at 151.5.
The Musketeers are the better team overall, and man-for-man, they have the talent to overcome newcomers to March Madness, Kennesaw State. As the Big East's top scorer on the best efficiency, Xavier is too strong to overlook in this matchup.
Despite their impressive 81.6 points per game in the Big East and 81.4 points per game all season, eight of the Musketeers' nine losses came when they scored fewer than 80 points on the evening. There are only so many teams in the NCAA Tournament as offense-biased as the Musketeers.
It's always fun to look at a team like Kennesaw State and hope for a Cinderella story to be born. They have made the NCAA Tournament for the first time in their school's history, and they're sure to give it their all when they take on the Xavier Musketeers.
While the Owls don't have the name recognition to intimidate teams, their results speak for themselves. Despite being one of the stronger shooting teams in their A-Sun Conference, Kennesaw State has won nine of 15 games when they've shot lower than 45.0% from the field. Impressively, the Owls held their opponents under 45.0% from the field in those games.
Kennesaw State needs more depth and overall talent, and its star backcourt is expected to be outmatched by Xavier's. The Owls are sure to manufacture some solid opportunities, but Xavier will have the advantage in overall execution and paint presence.
Location: Greensboro Coliseum, Greensboro, NC
Game Time & Date: 12:40 PM EST, Friday, March 17, 2023
TV Network: truTV
Streaming: YouTube TV, Paramount+, Sling TV, Hulu + Live TV
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Christian Jope is a writer, social media strategist, and data analyst. A Queen’s University Alumni, Christian is an author and social media strategist with Raptors Cage, while also working closely with MLSE and Canada Basketball through community-driven events.
Email: [email protected]More info on Christian Jope
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