NCAA March Madness: Xavier vs. Kennesaw State betting preview, odds and predictions

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NCAA March Madness: Xavier vs. Kennesaw State betting preview, odds and predictions

In the 3 vs. 14 matchup in the Midwest region of the 2023 NCAA tournament, Xavier faces Kennesaw State with a spot in the Round of 32 on the line. All tournament long, VSiN will be providing you with March Madness betting oddsin-depth team analysis and expert college basketball picks. Make us your one-stop shop for all of your betting needs. 

 

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How to watch Xavier vs. Kennesaw State

When: Friday, 12:40 p.m. ET

Where: Greensboro, North Carolina

Watch: truTV 

Odds for Xavier vs. Kennesaw State

Spread: Xavier -11

Total: 151.5

(Odds accurate as of Sunday, March 12th at 11:00 p.m. ET)

Real-time betting splits at DraftKings Sportsbook

Midwest Region No. 3 Seed Xavier

It’s hard to find many teams in the country that are better offensively than the Musketeers, who have a lethal scorer in Souley Boum. Xavier also happens to play at a very fast pace, which makes Sean Miller’s team a tough matchup for anyone. Colby Jones and Jack Nunge are two other guys that consistently score for this Musketeers group, and the reality is that not many teams have four reliable offensive players. Xavier will just need to level up defensively in order to make a deep run in the tournament. Miller doesn’t have a strong track record in March, but he is more comfortable with the Musketeers than he was with the Arizona Wildcats. Perhaps he’ll reach his first Final Four in his second stint with Xavier.

Midwest Region No. 14 Seed Kennesaw State

This is the first-ever March Madness appearance for the Owls, who were fortunate to have home-court advantage throughout their conference tournament. That ended up giving them the edge they needed to get by the Liberty Flames in the finals, but they won’t have that luxury in the NCAA Tournament. Kennesaw State does, however, have a rock-solid backcourt, as Chris Youngblood and Terrell Burden are both good players. Those two can give a first-round opponent some trouble, especially if Burden is hitting some jumpers. That’s not his calling card, but teams will dare him to shoot the 3.

Xavier vs. Kennesaw State matchup analysis

In Amir Abdur-Rahim’s first season at the helm with Kennesaw State, the Owls went 1-28 and lost every game in Atlantic Sun play. Just four short years later, the Owls are the conference representative in the NCAA Tournament. Let’s get this out of the way first—the Owls got pretty lucky as the season went along. They went 11-3 in games decided by six or fewer points and rank second in Ken Pomeroy’s Luck metric.

In terms of tougher tests, Kennesaw State lost by three at A-10 champ VCU, by 34 against San Diego State and by 14 against Indiana, all in true road settings. Both Quadrant II wins for the Owls came against Liberty, including the one that punched a ticket to the Big Dance for the first time in program history.

It’s not all luck for the Owls, who rank 33rd in the nation in 3P%, but they’re going to need a lot of it against Xavier. The Musketeers are third in the nation in 3P%, though they did struggle to defend the perimeter as the season went along. Opponents are shooting at a 35.9% clip (282nd) thus far.

Zach Freemantle was lost for the season on Feb. 1. Xavier went 8-4 in his absence and three of their losses were by a combined five points before losing by 14 to Marquette in the Big East Tournament final. The Owls have their work cut out for them here, especially because a lot of what they do well, Xavier just does better.

The Musketeers also like to push the tempo, which could be a bad thing for Kennesaw State if the offense isn’t in rhythm. We’ve seen upstart teams get run off the floor in the second half in faster-paced games, so the Owls have to avoid getting caught up in the moment to keep this one close or have a shot at the upset.

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