2011 NCAA Tournament Second Round – East Region
#6 Xavier Musketeers vs. #11 Marquette Golden Eagles, Quicken Loans Arena, Cleveland, Ohio
Friday, March 18, 2011, 7:27 pm Eastern, TV: truTV
Opening Line: Xavier -1.5
Current Line: Xavier -2.5
Opening Total: 140.5
Current Total: 140.5
Money Line: Xavier -140 / Marquette +120
A couple wins in the Big East Conference tournament helped seal the deal for the 11th-seeded Marquette Golden Eagles (20-14) to become one of a record 11 teams from the league to get into the NCAA tournament. The sixth-seeded Xavier Musketeers (24-7) simply needed the selection committee to respect the Atlantic-10 Conference enough to allow three of its teams into the Big Dance. The Musketeers (-2.5) got their wish and will face the Golden Eagles in an East Region second-round matchup on Friday at Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland.
Top seed Xavier went 16-1 against conference opponents during the regular season but was upset by #9 Dayton 68-67 in the quarterfinals of the Atlantic-10 tournament last Friday, preventing the team from earning the conference’s automatic bid. #3 Richmond went on to win conference tourney over the Flyers while #2 Temple also made the NCAA tournament field after losing 58-54 to the Spiders in the semifinals.
The Musketeers had won nine straight games prior to losing in the conference tournament, going 7-2 against the spread. Their only loss in conference play came at Charlotte on February 2, 66-62. The UNDER went 6-2 in their last eight games of the regular season.
Marquette was on the bubble for the Big Dance after dropping their last two games of the regular season. The Golden Eagles had won three games in a row before that both straight-up and against the spread, including a 74-67 overtime victory at Connecticut on February 24. That win over the Huskies seemed to be signature win the team needed before the season-ending skid.
Fortunately, the Big East tournament gave #11 seed Marquette new life and provided a favorable first-round game against #14 Providence. The Golden Eagles crushed the Friars 87-66 and followed that up with a 67-61 upset of #6 West Virginia as a 2.5-point underdog in the second round. Even though they were blown out by #3 Louisville 81-56 in the quarterfinals, they found a way to get their 20th win of the season by advancing and ended up in the NCAA tournament.
The UNDER has cashed in seven of Marquette’s last eight games along with six of Xavier’s past nine. However, the OVER is 11-2 in the last 13 NCAA tournament games for the Eagles, who have also seen the OVER go 7-2 in their past nine non-conference games.
These teams met at the beginning of last season with Marquette pulling off a 71-61 road win as a 5-point dog. The Musketeers are 6-2 ATS in their last eight games against Big East opponents.
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