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Xavier vs Pittsburgh Prediction, Picks & Odds | NCAA Tournament

Written by: Richard Janvrin
Published March 18, 2023
12 min read

With the first round of the NCAA Tournament wrapping up, we look back at the Round of 64 and find plenty of March Madness. One of the upsets, albeit smaller, features a team in this game—Pittsburgh. En route to the Round of 32, No. 11 Pittsburgh downed No. 6 Iowa State and will take on No. 3 Xavier in the Midwest Region. Can Pittsburgh upset yet another team, or does the run end here? Let’s take a look. 

See all the Game Predictions, bracket contests updates & game information for every round of 32 game: March Madness Predictions, Picks, Odds & game info

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Xavier vs Pittsburgh Prediction, Picks & Odds | NCAA Tournament

#3 Xavier Preview

Of all four No. 3 seeds in the NCAA Tournament, Xavier ranks third-highest on the KenPom rankings at 15th. In their first-round matchup against No. 14 Kennesaw State, Xavier had a bit of a scare, winning by just five (72-67). What helped Xavier down the stretch was a massive block from Jack Nunge on Terrell Burden which would have been the go-ahead basket for the Owls. At one point, Xavier was down by 13 points, but thanks to the seven-foot-tall-ness of Nunge, he was able to help hold Kennesaw State to just 2-of-15 shooting over the last nine-plus minutes of the game. 

Nunge came up big for the Musketeers, but so did Jerome Hunter, leading the team in points. Scoring just 72 here, this fell nine points shy of Xavier’s per-game average of 81.4. They also shot just 16.7% from three-point range, which is a far cry from their usual 39.54% rate, which is second in the country. Considering they score 72 here while shooting terribly from three-point range, that certainly means we could see a lot more scoring from this unit. 

Key Players & Key Stats

The stat that stands out most here is the 23% three-point shooting differential in this game compared to the entire season. When looking at the performance of the players, Hunter led the way with 24 points and added five rebounds. There were three other players with double-digit points, including Nunge, Colby Jones, and Souley Boum, who had four free throws with less than three seconds to go in the game. 

NCAA Tournament Betting Tips: How to Bet on March Madness: Ultimate Betting Strategy

#11 Pittsburgh Preview

Heading into the tournament ranked 60th in the KenPom rankings, Pittsburgh barely let Iowa State, ranked 30th in those same rankings, score 40 points. How did that happen? Well, it certainly helps when you manage to hold a team to just 23% shooting from the floor. Yes, 23%. This was an excellent effort from a team that usually allows 70 points per game (174th in the country). Pittsburgh saw three players score double-digit points and outworked Iowa State in rebounds, assists, and blocks. Offensively, it was an OK showing for Pittsburgh, but they fell way short of their 75.6 points per game average, scoring just 59 on 34% shooting from the floor and 31.6% from three-point range. 

After beating Mississippi State in their First Four matchup, Pittsburgh will look to carry this momentum against a top-rated Xavier team. As mentioned, Pittsburgh dominated Iowa State in almost every statistical category. The three players that scored double-digit points were Jamarius Burton (11), Nelly Cummings (13), and Greg Elliott (10). The next best scorer was Guillermo Diaz Graham, with nine. One key stat Pittsburgh dominated was free throw percentage, outpacing Iowa State's 86.2% to just 57.9%. 

Key Players & Key Stats

As mentioned, Pittsburgh dominated Iowa State in almost every statistical category. The three players that scored double-digit points were Jamarius Burton (11), Nelly Cummings (13), and Greg Elliott (10). The next best scorer was Guillermo Diaz Graham, with nine. One key stat Pittsburgh dominated was free throw percentage, outpacing Iowa State's 86.2% to just 57.9%. 

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Odds, Previews, Picks, Best Bets for Xavier vs Pittsburgh

While Pittsburgh has a solid offense of their own, their defense leaves much to be desired, especially against an even better offense in Xavier. As mentioned multiple times already, if Xavier managed to score 72 while making just two three-point shots, this doesn’t look good whatsoever for the Panthers. That said, Xavier is an atrocious defense, allowing 74.1 points per game and also allowing close to 100 points per 100 possessions, according to KenPom. While the over is tempting here at 153.5 at DraftKings Sportsbook, Xavier should bounce back from three-point range and outscore Pittsburgh by more than five, and head onto the Sweet Sixteen. 

Best Bet: Xavier -5 (-110) at DraftKings

NCAA Tournament Betting Sites: Best March Madness Betting Sites & Sportsbook Apps 2023

Xavier vs Pittsburgh How to Watch

Location: Greensboro Coliseum, Greensboro, North Carolina

Game Time & Date: March 19 at 12:10 pm EST

TV Network: CBS

Streaming: NCAA March Madness Live

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AUTHOR

Richard Janvrin

575 Articles

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.

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