The second-seeded Arizona Wildcats will look to handle the surprising sixth-seeded Xavier Musketeers when he two national title hopefuls square off in their Sweet 16 NCAAB betting matchup on Thursday night.
While Arizona was expected to contend for the national title this season, Xavier’s run to the Sweet 16 has been something of an eye-opening revelation.
Now, let’s find out if the Musketeers can extend their season by pulling off a huge upset against the loaded Wildcats.
No. 6 Xavier vs. No. 2 Arizona
When: 10:17 PM ET, Thursday, March 26, 2015
Where: Staples Center, Los Angeles, California
Odds: Arizona -10.5
No. 6 Xavier (23-13 SU, 18-16-1 ATS, 15-19 O/U)
Xavier handed overachieving Georgia State a convincing 75-67 loss in their Round of 32 matchup the last time out and will look to do likewise against the loaded Wildcats in their Sweet 16 showdown.
The Musketeers caught fire in the second half against the Panthers, draining a ridiculous 81.3 percent of their second half field goal attempts. Junior forward Jalen Reynolds scored a team-high 21 points to lead Xavier to victory while two other players also reached double figures in scoring for the Musketeers.
Xavier has won five of its last six games and seven of its last 10 overall while going 4-2 ATS and 6-3-1 ATS over the respective spans.
Xavier basketball star drives an Uber to help pay for school because he gave up his scholarship to his brother http://t.co/MzHnlRpnGi
— Business Insider (@businessinsider) March 25, 2015
Center Matt Stainbrook talked to reporters recently about his team’s growth this season. “We had a learning curve, and over the season we’ve done a good job of learning from our mistakes and getting a lot better,” Stainbrook told reporters. “I think it’s great that the Big East has been able to test us with some really tough teams, and I think the fact that we’ve grown as a team together has made us really special at this point.”
The Musketeers average an impressive 73.7 points per game (38th) and allow 67.3 points per contest defensively (195th).
No. 2 Arizona (33-3 SU, 23-13 ATS, 16-20 O/U)
Arizona throttled Ohio 73-58 in the third round to reach the Sweet 16 for the third consecutive season. Point guard T.J. McConnell and backup guard Gabe York both picked up the slack as the Wildcats’ gifted freshman Stanley Johnson struggled mightily in shooting 1-for-12 from the field and finishing with just four points.
“His intent was very good. It’s just the ball didn’t go in a couple times for him early,” Wildcats’ head coach Sean Miller told reporters. “He started to press a couple times later, it wasn’t his night.”
McConnell and York both scored a team-high 19 points to lead Arizona to victory while McConnell added six rebounds, six assists and five steals in the convincing victory. York made five three-pointers in the win and commented on his performance afterward.
“I wanted to be aggressive but also know that my teammates were going to find me in transition or throughout the zone with however many seconds were left on the shot clock,” York explained to reporters. “I just did a great job of knocking down shots.”
The Wildcats have won a whopping 13 consecutive games coming into this contest while going 9-4 ATS over the span, leaving the widely-respected Miller just two victories away from reaching his first Final Four.
Arizona averages a stellar 76.8 points per game (20th) on an incendiary 48.9 percent shooting mark (fifth) while limiting their opponents to just 59.0 points per game to rank 15th in the nation.
I’m really impressed with the season that Xavier has had, but I just don’t see them getting past a very talented Arizona team no matter how hard I try to visualize it.
While Xavier has gone 4-1 ATS in their last five neutral site games and a blistering 19-5-2 ATS in their last 26 NCAA Tournament games, the Musketeers are also just 1-4 ATS in their last five games against teams from the Pacific-12.
Arizona apparently plays well against good competition with the Wildcats going 9-2 ATS in their last 11 games against a team with a winning percentage above .600 and 12-3 ATS in their last 15 games against teams with a winning S.U. record.
With the Wildcats also going 14-4 ATS in their last 18 games following an SU win and 20-8 ATS in their last 28 games overall, I think the outcome of this affair is closer to a lock than anything else.
I like the Arizona Wildcats to get ‘er done, both straight-up and against-the-spread.