Xavier Musketeers versus Arizona Wildcats March madness betting preview
Time: 10:05 PM
Place: SAP Center – San Jose, CA
March madness odds:
Xavier +7½ (-110) 145 (-110) +310
Arizona -7½ (-110) 145 (-110) -370
How they got here
Arizona knocked out Saint Mary’s in the second round of the NCAA tournament on Saturday to clinch a berth in the Sweet 16 for the fourth time in the last five years. Lauri Markkanen had 16 points and 11 rebounds, while Allonzo Trier scored 14 points and Dusan Ristic 13. Arizona shot 59.1% from the floor in the second half. The Musks beat No. 3 seed Florida State to reach their second Sweet 16 in the past three years. Trevon Bluiett had 29 points, Tyrique Jones added 13 and JP Macura 10. Kaiser Gates scored 14 off the bench. Xavier led by as many as 15 points in the first half and enjoyed a 44-34 advantage at halftime.
This will be the second time that Xavier and Arizona will meet in the Sweet 16. The Wildcats defeated the Musketeers 68-60 in the 2015 West regional semifinals. Per March madness odds, the rematch should go Arizona’s way again but more on that below.
Players to watch
The Wildcats owe their success to the fearsome foursome of Allonzo Trier, Lauri Markkanen, Rawle Alkins and Dusan Ristic. On the other hand, the Musketeers live and die by Trevon Bluiett – the D’Artagnan to Xavier’s Athos, Porthos, and Aramis. Which would make Chris Mack their Captain Treville. Oh right, this preview.
March madness betting trends
Why should the rematch go Arizona’s way again? It may have something to do with the fact that the Wildcats are 30-0 SU in their last 30 games as a 7-point or higher favourite. On the other hand, the Musketeers are 15-1 against the spread in the last 16 games as an underdog in the NCAA tourney. Moreover, the total has gone under in five of Xavier’s previous six games.
What to expect
The Wildcats have had a tendency for slow starts during March; Arizona trailed by 10 points against Saint Mary’s and gave North Dakota too much room to wiggle. However, when the Fab Four get their Scheisse together they become pretty much un-guardable. Contrariwise, Xavier’s freshman guard Quentin Goodin has upped his game to make up for Edmond Sumner’s absence, but like the Gingerbread Man, he tends to crumble under pressure.
This just in
Wildcats shooting guard Rawle Alkins has the Arizona sportsball press wrapped around his finger – the index finger which he broke recently. “I know that everyone in Tucson wants to know what’s going on with the finger,” Alkins said. “But I feel fine and, you know, I’m getting better every day.” Tucson.com adds that the “Musketeers are a tightly knit bunch.” As in, “all for one and one for all,” perhaps?
The winner between march madness betting favorite Arizona and dark horse Xavier will advance to the Elite 8 where they will have a chance to test their mettle against No. 1 seeded Gonzaga Bulldogs.