Xavier Vs. Kansas State Handicapping Preview

Ray MonohanContributor IMarch 24, 2010

OMAHA, NE - MARCH 22:  Head coach Frank Martin of the Kansas State Wildcats coaches against the Wisconsin Badgers during the Midwest Region second round of the 2008 NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament on March 22, 2008 at the Qwest Center in Omaha, Nebraska.  (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)
Jamie Squire/Getty Images

Xavier Musketeers vs K-State Wildcats Predictions

Xavier: 26-8 SU, 22-11 ATS
Kansas State: 28-7 SU, 21-9 ATS

Kansas St. vs Xavier Odds
Depending on where you look you are seeing K-State at either -4.5 or -5.
Xavier +4.5
Over/Under: 153.5
Moneyline: Xavier +180, Kansas State -220

This Sweet Sixteen matchup in the West Regional will take place in Salt Lake City at 9:37PM on Thursday.

These two teams met prior to conference play in Manhattan with Kansas State posting a 71-56 victory (ATS win -6.5).

When these two teams met earlier this season Xavier was about as cold as it could be shooting less than 30% for the game.

As they enter the Sweet Sixteen they are infinitely warmer, especially leading scorer Jordan Crawford who torched Pittsburgh for 27 points and has scored 20 or more in 5 straight. Despite playing in the smaller conference Xavier has great tournament credentials and over the last few seasons has excelled in March.

This team was supposed to have a down year after losing their three leading scorers from last years Sweet Sixteen outfit but even though they were not conference champs they are the lone Atlantic Ten team standing right now. If K-State comes in expecting to coast again the will be in for a rude awakening.

Kansas State has one of the better back courts in America but what really drives this team is defense. Against BYU they were able to take the best shooting team in America and drop them to below 40%.

They also did a great job stymieing Jimmer Fredette who was clearly outplayed by Jacob Pullen in the contest. Pullen scored 34 points including 7-12 from three. 

This performance was well above seasonal averages but he is the only person who might be able to match Crawford is he goes off in this one.

Both these teams would prefer to keep this game at a modest pace and make the other team work for it on every possession.

K-State has a big advantage in that the Wildcats have more scoring options than the Musketeers with four players averaging double figures.

Betting Trends:

Musketeers are 9-1 ATS in their last 10 NCAA Tournament games as an underdog.
Musketeers are 8-1 ATS in their last 9 NCAA Tournament games as an underdog of 0.5-6.5.
Wildcats are 8-0 ATS in their last 8 non-conference games
Wildcats are 6-0 ATS in their last 6 neutral site games as a favorite
Xavier is 10-1 SU in its last 11 games
Xavier is 5-1 ATS in its last 6 games
The total has gone OVER in 4 of Xavier’s last 5 games
Kansas State is 4-1 SU in its last 5 games
Kansas State is 4-1 ATS in its last 5 games
The total has gone UNDER in 6 of Kansas State’s last 9 games

Free Wildcats vs. Musketeers CBB Pick

Kansas State get a good draw to continue what is turning into a dream season. The Wildcats have more than enough offense to penetrate the Xavier D and should be able to make it tough for Jordan Crawford to continue his scoring ways. Good free throw shooting down the stretch will make this one look worse than it was.

Score prediction: Kansas State 69 – Xavier 58

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