March is time for gut checks. And Xavier certainly got one in his game against the Kennesaw State Owls on Friday when he fell down as much as 13 points in the second half before rallying for a 72-67 win. Now a streaky underdog heads to Pittsburgh for a Round of 32 matchup in which the Musketeers are clear favorites.
Xavier is one of the best 3-point shooting teams in the country but suffered an off-night from long range (2-on-12) against Kennesaw State. Defense forcing misses on 13 of the Owls’ last 15 shots and a 13-0 run led by Souley Boum (17 points) turned the script around.
Pittsburgh, meanwhile, started as one of the bottom four teams in the tournament but has come so far with a hair-raising win over Mississippi State in the play-in round and a loss to sixth-ranked Iowa State in the Round of 64. The Panthers’ offense has Didn’t quite make the portion of their top 30 ranking, but defenses have been beefed up, and they’ve prevailed in big moments to reach the doorstep of the program’s first Sweet Sixteen appearance since 2007.
Make sure your popcorn is done when it tips over. It promises to be a high-octane game between two hungry, well-trained teams. The total score of over 150 points is among the highest in the second round.
What: Midwest, second round
Typing time: 12:10 p.m. ET Sunday
Location: Greensboro Coliseum, Greensboro, NC
Xavier vs Pittsburgh Odds
The odds come from BetMGM and are updated live.
Model projection: Xavier by 6.2, total 154
Check out Austin Mock’s best second round bets
to see players
Colby Jones, junior guard, potential first-round NBA draft pick, All-Big East second team
Souley Boum, Graduate Guard, All-Big East First Team
Jamarius Burton, Graduate Guard, All-ACC First Team
Blake Hinson, junior forward, All-ACC second team
Nike Sibande, Senior Guard, ACC Sixth Man of the Year
More coverage of NCAA men’s basketball tournaments
(Photo by Nelly Cummings: Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images)