On Friday night, Xavier and Texas will square off in the final matchup of the Sweet 16. The Musketeers advanced past #14 Kennesaw State and #11 Pittsburgh to reach the Sweet 16, while Texas overcame #15 Colgate and #10 Penn State on their way there.
Texas doesn’t need to shoot the lights out to make a deep tournament run as Xavier does. Although they lost head coach Chris Beard earlier in the year, this team looks like one coached by a coach that may be better than Beard. Texas’ defense allowed 67.2 points per game during the regular season (91st in the country). Still, since losing 75-73 at TCU on March 1, they’ve allowed just 58.2 PPG – against Kansas twice, Oklahoma State, TCU, Colgate and Penn State – showing their ability to defend against tournament-caliber opposition.
The Musketeers’ offense has been the key to their success this season, averaging 81.2 points per game (11th in the country) and scoring 78 or more in seven of their last ten games. If they want to beat the Longhorns, another strong shooting performance will be necessary.
The Musketeers have struggled at times after losing star Zach Freemantle a little over a month ago. The Muskies live and die by the three-pointer and if they are hot they can beat anybody. Xavier is lacking on the defensive end of the court and that makes it hard to straight up pick Xavier to beat Texas.
These two teams have not played this season.
Texas may not possess the size or three-point shooting that Xavier boasts in its core rotation, but they more than makeup for those shortcomings with an all-inclusive game. Texas not only scores with the best in the nation, but they’ve also played outstanding defense during their six-game winning streak. Texas boasts several players who can get hot, but Disu has been especially impressive during March Madness’ intense spotlight. Whether we’re betting on Texas’ moneyline, buying some points for them to gain momentum, or making a four-point teaser with their +0.5 and OVER 152.5, having insurance in tight battles like these is key. Overall bet the Longhorns to cover 80-70.
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