West Region Second Round Betting Picks: #11 Ole Miss Rebels vs #6 Xavier Musketeeers

2015 NCAA Tournament
West Region – Second Round
#6 Xavier Musketeers vs #11 Ole Miss Rebels
Veterans Memorial Arena – Jacksonville, Florida

Thursday, March 19, 2015, 4:10 pm Eastern, TV: TBS
Opening Line: Xavier -2
Current Line: Xavier -3
Opening Total: 144 1/2
Current Total: 145
Opening Money Line: Xavier -135 / Ole Miss +115
Current Money Line: Xavier -165 / Ole Miss +140

Xavier is a 3 point favorite against Ole Miss in the West region second round Thursday in Jacksonville.
Xavier is a 3 point favorite against Ole Miss in the West region second round Thursday in Jacksonville.

The 21-13 Xavier Musketeers are the #6 seed in the West Region. The Musketeers will take on the 21-12 Mississippi Rebels in the second round Thursday in Jacksonville. The winner will take on either the #3 seed Baylor Bears or the #14 seed Georgia State Panthers in the third round Saturday. Xavier and Ole Miss have never played each other before.

Mississippi tied for third with 3 other teams at 11-7 in the SEC. The Rebels were upset by South Carolina in the SEC second round and many questioned whether Ole Miss would even get a bid to the NCAA Tournament. Mississippi closed the season losing 4 of their last 5 games. However, the Rebels were matched up against BYU in the first round Tuesday in Dayton. Ole Miss trailed by 17 points at halftime in that game but came back to win 94-90 to advance to this game. The Rebels are making their 8th trip ever to the NCAA Tournament and their best finish was a Sweet 16 run in 2001. Ole Miss went 4-7 against NCAA Tournament teams this season.

Xavier finished 6th in the Big East at 9-9. The Musketeers did advance to the Big East Championship game but were beaten 69-52 by Villanova in the Championship game Saturday. Xavier is making their 25th NCAA appearance and has been a fixture in the tournament since the mid 80’s. Xavier made it all the way to the Elite 8 in 2004 and 2008. The Musketeers went 8-7 against NCAA Tournament teams this season.

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Ole Miss is coached by Andy Kennedy. The Rebels have home losses to Charleston Southern, TCU, Western Kentucky, LSU, Arkansas, Georgia, and Vanderbilt, plus road losses at Dayton, Kentucky, Georgia, and LSU, plus a neutral site loss to South Carolina in the SEC Tournament in Nashville. Mississippi has home wins over Coastal Carolina, South Carolina, Florida, Mississippi State, Texas A&M, and Tennessee, neutral site wins over Creighton and Cincinnati in a  tournament in Florida, road wins at Oregon, Arkansas, Missouri, Auburn, Florida, Mississippi State and Alabama. Ole Miss is 17-14-1 ATS and the total is 16-12 this season. The Rebels were 3 point favorites against BYU and the total was 158.

Xavier is coached by Chris Mack. The Musketeers have neutral site losses to UTEP and Long Beach State in the Wooden Legacy in Fullerton/Anaheim, and Villanova in the Big East Championship at Madison Square Garden, plus road losses at Auburn, DePaul, Butler, Villanova, Providence, Seton Hall, and St. John’s, along with home losses to Creighton, St. John’s, and Villanova. Xavier has home wins over Long Beach State, Stephen F. Austin, Murray State, Alabama, Florida-Gulf Coast, Georgetown, Seton Hall, Marquette, DePaul, Providence, and Butler, neutral site wins over San Diego in Fullerton, Butler and Georgetown in the Big East Tournament, plus road wins over Missouri, Georgetown, Marquette, Cincinnati, and Creighton. The Musketeers are 16-16-1 ATS and the total is 14-18 this season. Xavier was a 7.5 point underdog against Villanova and the total was 140.

Ole Miss is outscoring teams 73-68. The Rebels are #46 nationally in scoring. Mississippi is shooting 42.7% from the field and 33.7% from 3 point range. The Rebels are #4 nationally in free throw shooting at 77.4% from the line. Opponents are shooting 40.2% from the field and 35.5% from 3 point range. The Rebels average 37.8 rebounds per game and opponents average 31 per game. Ole Miss is #32 nationally in rebounding. The Rebels average  13.2 assists, 11.2 turnovers, 6.6 steals and 3.8 blocks per game. Opponents average 14.2 assists, 12.7 turnovers, 4.9 steals and 3.6 blocks per game.

Stefan Moody averages 16.6 points, 3.4 rebounds, 2.3 assists and 1.7 steals per game. Jarvis Summers averages 12.4 points, 1.9 rebounds and 4.8 blocks per game. Ladarius White averages 11.1 points, 3.2 rebounds, and 1.3 assists per game. Sebastian Saiz averages 7.7 points and 5.5 rebounds per game. M.J. Rhett averages 7.3 points and 4.7 rebounds per game. Five other players average at least 11 minutes a game in the rotation.

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Xavier is outscoring teams 74-68 this season. The Musketeers are #42 nationally in scoring. Xavier is shooting 47.3% from the field and 34.9% from 3 point range. The Musketeers are #29 nationally in field goal shooting. Xavier makes 72.5% of their free throws. Opponents are shooting 43.8% from the field and 34.9% from 3 point range. Xavier averages 34.9 rebounds per game and opponents average 28.5 per game. Xavier averages 16.4 assists, 12.1 turnovers, 6.1 steals and 2.9 blocks per game. Opponents average 13 assists, 12.9 turnovers, 6.5 steals and 3.7 blocks per game.

Matt Stainbrook averages 12 points, 6.8 rebounds and 2.4 assists per game. Trevon Bluiett averages 11.7 points, 4.4 rebounds and 2   assists per game. Myles Davis averages 10.7 points, 2.4 rebounds and 2.2 assists per game. Jalen Reynolds averages 9.6 points and 6.2 rebounds per game. Remy Abell averages 8.6 points, 2 rebounds and 1.2 assists per game. Dee Davis averages 8.5 points, 2.4 rebounds, 6.1 assists, and 1.3 steals per game. Three other players average at least 10 minutes a game. J.P. Macura is probable with an ankle injury.

Ole Miss is 4-0 ATS in non-conference games, 4-1 in neutral site games, and against Big East teams, 6-2-1 after scoring more than 90 points, 2-5 overall, 2-6 against teams with winning records and 0-4 after a straight up win.

Xavier is 7-2 ATS in Thursday games, 18-6-2 in NCAA Tournament games, and 11-4 against SEC teams.

Both these teams are evenly matched statistically. Still, Xavier has been playing better down the stretch and I like the Musketeers to win a close game and advance.

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