Xavier vs. Notre Dame
Tip off: Friday, 9:45 PM EST
Spread: ND -2.5
M/L: ND -140, XA +120
Bet at Bookmaker, the source of these college basketball betting odds
The Fighting Irish held their own in the rugged Big East, posting a 13-5 in-conference record, and are making their third straight NCAA tournament appearance.
Their stats were unimpressive, ranking near the bottom third of both scoring and rebounding. They sport a very balanced attack, with four of their five starters averaging double figure scoring, and the fifth very close (Scott Martin, 9.5 ppg). Jack Cooley leads the way with 12.4 points per game and 9.0 boards (if you exclude Abromaitis two game season). Cooley also plays the least minutes of any Fighting Irish starter, quite perplexingly. The 6’9 junior is a force on both ends of the court, accounting for 1.6 blocks a game and 0.6 steals. He stays out of foul trouble and shoots 61.2% from the floor — there’s a lot to like in Cooley.
Jerian Grant is second on the team in scoring at 12.3 per game. He’s a 6’5″ workhorse who averages 36 minutes a game and takes a lot of threes, as 4.7 of his 9.5 attempts per game come from distance. If he gets hot, he can really fill it up, so Xavier is going to have to fight around screens, get a hand up, and box out, because Grant could easily turn this game into a blowout, particularly if he plays inside-outside well with Cooley.
Fighting Irish Betting Trends:
Notre Dame is 12-14 ATS but 0-6 ATS after a non-conference game. They are 1-5 ATS on neutral courts, as well, and 5-6 ATS as a favorite. Since 1997, Notre Dame is 210-202 ATS.
Xavier finished with a 21-12 record and went 10-6 in the A-10. They began the year red hot, winning their first eight games, including a victory over first round victor Vanderbilt. They actually won by 12 in an overtime game, completely dominating Vanderbilt in OT.
Their record is marred by some bad losses though. Losses to Dayton, Oral Roberts, and Hawaii, among others have been black marks on an otherwise pretty impressive season.
So which team will show up, the team that beat Vandy or the team that lost to teams that don’t even make post season tournaments?
Tu Holloway is the best Musketeer player, by far. The 6’0″ water bug point guard averages 17 points per game and 5.1 dimes. He’s not playing quite as well as he did last year in his junior season, but it’s hard to complain, other than his 41.9% field goal percentage not being all that stellar.
Mark Lyons (15.5 points per game) and Dezmine Wells (10.2 ppg) both add to the Musketeers punch. Lyons rounds out the backcourt with Holloway, and though his minutes have fallen from 35 last year to 31 this year, his numbers are still up across the board. Like Holloway, he doesn’t hit a very high percentage from the floor (43.5%), but he is a game changer defensively at times, accounting for 1.3 steals a game.
Musketeers Betting Trends:
Xavier is 10-18 ATS in their last 28 games and 5-10 ATS following a conference game. They are 7-13 ATS when playing teams with winning records and 1-3 ATS in March. They are 5-7 ATS against good defensive teams (allowing less than 64 ppg).