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Xavier vs. Baylor NCAA Tournament Preview & Free Pick

Bet On NCAA Basketball: Musketeers (10) vs Bears (3)

Who would have guessed that the Round of 32 matchup would be Lehigh vs. Xavier? If you had this matchup in your bracket then you have to be one in a million.  

NCAA Tournament Matchup: Xavier vs. Baylor
South Region
Location: Atlanta, GA
Time/TV: 7:15 PM EST on CBS
College Basketball Gambling Odds from Bovada
NCAA Basketball Betting Favorite: Baylor -6
Over/Under: 139.5

 Matchup | Preview

Xavier went through a long swoon in the middle of the year this year, but the team recovered and they are back in the Sweet Sixteen for the fourth time in five years. Baylor used a ridiculous shooting performance from Brady Heslip to power past the Colorado Buffaloes and into the Sweet Sixteen. Both of these teams have been inconsistent this year, but both of them have a ton of potential.

Tu Holloway is the senior leader at point guard for the Xavier Musketeers. Holloway scored 25 in Xavier’s win against Notre Dame and 21 Sunday night against Lehigh. The team needs him to be aggressive offensively if they are going to win this matchup. Mark Lyons is an underrated shooting guard who plays terrific defense. Lyons will likely be put on Heslip in this one, and he’ll need to stay right in his face all game. Kenny Frease is a 7’0 center for the Musketeers. [soliloquy id=”82219″]

Frease only averages 9.9 points per game, but he carried the Musketeers with 25 huge points against Lehigh last game. He’ll have to be big in this one against Baylor’s talented frontcourt. Freshman Dezmine Wells is listed as questionable due to a toe injury, and the Musketeers badly need his scoring ability in this game.

Brady Heslip made nine three-pointers as Baylor trounced Colorado 80-63 in the Round of 32. The Bears frontcourt is their biggest strength, but guys like Perry Jones III and Quincy Acy haven’t been very good so far in the tournament. Jones III scored just two points against South Dakota State and seven against Colorado. He has as much talent as any power forward in the nation, but his effort is very inconsistent. Quincy Acy shoots 56.7% from the floor, and he is a veteran leader for this team.

He has gotten into foul trouble in the tournament, which has slowed down his game. Quincy Miller is a versatile freshman forward who can step out and shoot from outside. Pierre Jackson has impressed all season in the backcourt, and he can hit clutch shots.

Baylor should have the advantage in the frontcourt here, and their guards are much better than most people realize. Xavier has benefited from a fairly easy route to the Sweet Sixteen. I think Baylor wins this one comfortably.

Free College Basketball Pick: Baylor -6
Prediction: Baylor 75 Xavier 66

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