In what should be a great game, the Xavier Musketeers battle the Notre Dame Fighting Irish in the opening round of the South region. Find out who we are picking to cover the NCAA Basletball odds in this matchup.
The NCAA Basketball odds are tight right now, as sportsbooks have Notre Dame favored by only 2.5 points.
Considering the Fighting Irish can be excellent on the defensive end, the matchup's low
total of 124 is understandable.
Lets preview this matchup and decide where us bettors should lay our NCAA Basketball picks.
After catching fire in late January, the Fighting Irish
never looked back and were able to earn a BYE in the first round of the Big
Their first game against South Florida was tough but they
did manage the win. Unfortunately, the good times ended there, with the
Fighting Irish falling to Louisville 50-64 in an anemic offensive performance.
Notre Dame shot just 35.8 percent (compare that to
Louisville's 56.0 percent) and hit only 2-of-17 from beyond the arc. Down by 16
at half, the Fighting Irish just couldn't get anything going to ignite any sort
Excellent first round matchup
The Musketeers made a deep run into their conference
tournament as well, beating Dayton and St. Louis en-route to the finals against
Despite 33 points from Tu Holloway and Mark Lyons, Xavier
had absolutely no way to stop Andrew Nicholson, the Atlantic 10 player of the
year. He finished with 26 points (7-of-13 FG), 14 rebounds and an amazing eight
block to lead the Bonnies to the A10 title.
Sure it was a disappointing finish, but Xavier can quickly
make up for it in the opening round of the NCAA Tournament.
For me, there probably wasn't a more disappointing player
than Kenny Frease this season. Instead of taking over during his senior year,
his numbers were down across the board and his play signified Xavier's
Luckily for Frease, his teammates stepped up, largely
Holloway, Lyons and fellow guard Dezmine Wells. They all averaged in double
figures for the Musketeers this season.
Still, because you never really know what Xavier team is
going to show up, I'm picking Notre Dame to cover the small number on Friday.
Notre Dame to move on
A lot of credit should go to Mike Brey for what he's done
with the Fighting Irish. Leading man Tim Abromaitis was lost early on, but the
team banded together and made a furious charge during conference play.
A huge season out of Jack Cooley helped. He filled the void
inside perfectly, ending the year with 12.4 PPG and 9.0 RPG, both of which were
The Fighting Irish backcourt duo of Jerian Grant and Eric
Atkins (who are roommates) is the key for Friday though. They're matched up
with Holloway and Lyons, who will be central to the Musketeers' chances of
Notre Dame is team that plays tremendous defense and limits
mistakes. Xavier may have the standout individual players, but in my book the
Fighting Irish are the better team and therefore I'm backing the higher seed with my sports picks to
FREE Pick: Notre Dame Fighting Irish -2.5
Musketeers are 1-7-1 ATS in their last 9 games overall
Fighting Irish are 1-4 ATS in their last 5 games overall
Fighting Irish are 1-7 ATS in their last 8 neutral site games
OVER is 5-0 in Xavier's last 5 games as an underdog
UNDER is 20-9 in Notre Dame's last 29 games overall