Pittsburgh-Xavier: Sweet 16 Breakdown and Winner Against the Spread

ctsports picksAnalyst IMarch 25, 2009

PITTSBURGH - MARCH 07: Levance Fields #2 of the Pittsburgh Panthers brings the ball up the court while playing the Connecticut Huskies on March 7, 2009 at the Petersen Events Center in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.  (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)

Craig from CT Sports Picks is back and is so excited about the Wweet 16 games for the next two days!

Today, Craig's free winner is in the Pittsburgh vs Xavier matchup in the Midwest Region.
For Coach Miller of Xavier, it's a reunion of sorts. Sean Miller was the star point guard at Pitt over 20 years ago. Although don't look the Panthers to take it easy on there former point guard. 
This is the round that has given Pittsburgh fits in the last five years. As good as Pittsburgh has been in the recent past, they have not been able to advance to the Elite Eight.
Let's look at the records and trends for these two teams!

Team records:
  • Xavier: 27-7 SU, 17-12-3 ATS
  • Pittsburgh: 30-4 SU, 18-10 ATS

Recent Trends:
  • Musketeers are 5-2 ATS in their last seven games overall.
  • Musketeers are 6-2 ATS in their last eight games as an underdog.
  • Panthers are 1-5 ATS in their last six NCAA Tournament games.
  • Panthers are 7-2 ATS in their last nine games as a favorite of 7.0-12.5
Craig has been on fire lately and has a big weekend ahead of him. In this matchup tonight, Craig loves, loves, loves, Pittsburgh -6.5. In fact, when Craig did his point spread, he had Pitt favored by eight and still loved the Panthers.
Pittsburgh has the three things you love when picking NCAA tournament winners: Great PG play, great defensive play, and solid rebounding. Xavier on the other hand struggles with a lack of a go to PG and struggles rebounding against bigger teams.
Blair will dominate Xavier and most likely have both of Xavier's centers in foul trouble. Fields is a true point guard leader and might not be a huge scorer, but late in shot clocks or late in the game always makes the big shot.  
Pittsburgh has not gotten the job done the last three years in this round but this time they break through and win big. Enjoy this easy winner!! 
SCORE  PITT 79 - XU 66