West Regional Semifinals: #2 Arizona Wildcats vs #6 Xavier Musketeers

2015 NCAA Tournament
West Regional Semifinals
#2 Arizona Wildcats vs #6 Xavier Musketeers
Staples Center – Los Angeles, California
Thursday, March 26, 2015, 10:17 pm Eastern, TV: TBS
Opening Line: Arizona -10
Current Line: Arizona -10 1/2
Current Total: 136
Current Total: 136
Opening Money Line: Arizona -600 / Xavier +460
Current Money Line: Arizona -700 / Xavier +525

Arizona is a 10.5 point favorite against Xavier in the West Regional semifinals Thursday in LA.
Arizona is a 10.5 point favorite against Xavier in the West Regional semifinals Thursday in LA.

Sometimes the random nature of the NCAA Tournament creates some great stories. The 33-3 Arizona Wildcats take on the 23-13 Xavier Musketeers in the West regional Semifinals Thursday night in Los Angeles. Arizona coach Sean Miller was the head coach at Xavier for six seasons. He left to take over the Arizona program in 2009 and his top assistant Chris Mack took over the Xavier program. This is the first meeting between the schools. The winner of Xavier and Arizona will play either #1 Wisconsin or #4 North Carolina in the Elite 8 Saturday.

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. The #6 seeded Musketeers breezed to a 76-57 win over #11 Ole Miss in the second round and then beat #14 seed Georgia State 75-67 in the third round Saturday in Jacksonville. Xavier is making their 25th NCAA appearance and has been a fixture in the tournament since the mid 80’s. Xavier is making their 7th trip to the Sweet 16 and sixth since 2004. The Musketeers went 10-7 against NCAA Tournament teams this season.

Arizona won the Pac 12 regular season title with a  16-2 record and also won the Pac 12 Tournament. The Wildcats beat #15 Texas Southern 93-72 in the second round and #10 Ohio State 73-58 in the third round Saturday, both in Portland. Arizona has won 13 straight games. The Wildcats are making their 29th appearance in the NCAA Tournament since 1985 and 16th trip to the Sweet 16. Arizona went 12-0 against NCAA Tournament teams this season.

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Xavier  has 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 18-16-1 ATS and the total is 15-19 this season. Xavier was a 6 point favorite against Georgia State and the total was 132.

Arizona has road losses at UNLV, Oregon State and Arizona State.  Arizona has home wins over CS-Northridge, UC-Irvine, Gonzaga, Michigan, Oakland, Arizona State, Colorado, Utah, Oregon, Oregon State, USC, UCLA, California and Stanford. The Wildcats also have neutral sight wins over Missouri, Kansas State and San Diego State in the Maui Invitational, Cal, UCLA and Oregon in the Pac 12 Tournament, and road wins over UTEP, Oregon, Stanford, California, Washington, Washington State, Colorado and Utah. Arizona is 23-13 ATS and the total is 16-20 this season. The Wildcats were 10 point favorites against Ohio State and the total was 140.

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.

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Arizona is outscoring teams 77-59 this season. The Wildcats are #20 in scoring and #15 in points allowed nationally. Arizona is shooting 49.3% from the field and 36.2% from 3 point range. The Wildcats are #9 in field goal percentage nationally. Arizona makes 67.6% of their free throws. Opponents are shooting 39.4% from the field and 33.1% from 3 point range. The Wildcats are #31 nationally in field goal defense. Arizona averages 37.2 rebounds per game and opponents average 24.7 per game. The Wildcats are #1 nationally in rebounds allowed and #46 in rebounding. Arizona averages 14.2 assists, 11.2 turnovers, 7.2 steals and 3.6 blocks per game. Opponents average 9.7 assists, 14 turnovers, 4.7 steals and 2.6 blocks per game.

Forward Stanley Johnson averages 14.3 points, 6.5 rebounds, 1.7 assists and 1.5 steals per game. Brandon Ashley averages 12.4 points and 5.4 rebounds. Rondae Hollis-Jefferson averages 11.3 points, 6.9 rebounds 1.5 assists, 1.1 steals and 1.1 blocks per game. T.J. McConnell averages 9.9 points, 3.8 rebounds, 6.3 assists and 2.1 steals per game. Kaleb Tarczewski averages 9.2 points and 5 rebounds per game. Gabe York averages 8.9 points, 2.1 rebounds and 1.3 assists per game.  Guard Trey Mason is out indefinitely with a knee injury.

Xavier is 8-2 ATS in Thursday games, 4-1-1 after a straight up win, 4-1 against teams with winning records, overall and in neutral site wins, 19-5-2 in NCAA Tournament teams, 3-1-1 after a cover, and 1-4 against Pac 12 teams.

Arizona is 5-1 ATS in Thursday games, 12-3 against teams with winning records, 14-4 after a straight up win, 10-4 after a cover, and 20-8 overall.

Xavier has had a great run but Arizona is simply one of the best teams in the nation. The Wildcats win comfortably as the mentor beats the student.

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