Baylor Bears vs. Xavier Musketeers
The Baylor Bears and the Xavier Musketeers battle it out on Friday in the NCAA Tournament’s Sweet 16 with the winner nailing down a spot in the Elite Eight. The Bears are -6 point favorites over the Musketeers with an over/under point total set at 140.
Six teams from the Big 12 made the NCAA Tournament this season but only two have made it to the second weekend and Scott Drew’s Baylor Bears are one of them. Baylor knocked off South Dakota State in round one and then followed it up with a convincing 17 point win over Colorado. Against CU Brady Heslip had 27 points going 9 of 13 from three point land, Pierre Jackson had 15 points and 10 assists, Quincy Acy had seven points and 10 rebounds, and Perry Jones III had seven points. As a team the Bears shot 43.8 percent from the floor, 55 percent from beyond the three point arc, and 72.2 percent from the free throw line. For the year Baylor is 7-1 in neutral site games, 3-5 against ranked teams, and they played the 16th ranked schedule in the nation. Baylor has looked like one of the top teams in the nation for the bulk of the season but they have had a few flat performances where they have been vulnerable as well.
The Xavier Musketeers have had their share of ups and downs this season and right now Chris Mack’s team are playing some of their best basketball of the season. Xavier came back to defeat Notre Dame in their opening round game and then defeated the upset minded Cinderella Lehigh in their second round match up. Against Lehigh Kenny Frease had 25 points and 12 rebounds, Tu Holloway had 21 points, and Mark Lyons had seven points in an all-around team effort. As a team the Musketeers shot 44.4 percent from the floor, 46.7 percent from beyond the three point arc, and 71.4 percent from the free throw line. For the year Xavier is 5-3 in neutral site games, 1-0 against teams ranked in the top 25, and they played the 41st ranked schedule in the country. Xavier seems to right in the thick of it every year at NCAA Tournament time and this season is no different.
Baylor is 4-1 against the spread in their last five neutral site games, 6-2 against the spread in their last eight non-conference games, and 3-9 against the spread following a win. Xavier is 5-2-1 against the spread in their last eight games against the Big 12, 3-7 against the spread in their last 10 neutral site games, and 16-4-2 against the spread in their last 22 NCAA Tournament games.
The total is set in the 139.5 to 140 range and I see it coming in under that number as while both teams offense is good enough to score but their defense should keep it lower scoring.