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Kennesaw State vs. Xavier prediction and odds for NCAA Tournament First Round (Look to Underdog Owls)

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Kennesaw State is into their first ever NCAA Tournament and would love to announce themselves to the college basketball world with a shocking upset.

The Owls are the No. 14 seed against Big East Conference tournament runners up Xavier, the No. 3 seed in the Midwest Region. The Musketeers have a high powered offense under coach Sean Miller, but won’t have Zach Freemantle for the NCAA Tournament after he couldn’t recover from an injured foot over the last month.

Can Xavier start a run to the Final Four? Or will Kennesaw State shock the Musketeers?

Let’s check out the odds and break it down:

Kennesaw State vs. Xavier odds, spread and total

Kennesaw State vs. Xavier prediction and pick

Xavier was a team I was angling to fade in the NCAA Tournament, and this matchup sets up perfectly for Kennesaw State to stay close to the Musketeers.

The Owls are into their first ever NCAA Tournament, but this team is familiar with playing high level competition this season, losing by 10 at Florida, three at VCU and was tied at Indiana before losing by 14 at Assembly Hall. Overall, this team has covered nine out of 12 times as an underdog this season.

The team is an elite three-point shooting group that can match Xavier’s perimeter prowess as well, Kennesaw State hits is 33rd in three-point percentage while Xavier checks in third in that metric. If KSU is able to get big man Jack Nunge in motion and guard Terrell Burden can get into the paint to create open looks off of screens, this game is going to be back-and-forth throughout.

If you take out adjustments for the Xavier defense on KenPom, you see that there are some serious issues for the team on that side of the ball, the team is 172th in raw defensive efficiency, per TeamRankings.

The Owls can also keep a lid on Xavier with their constant changing of defensive schemes. Amir Abdur-Rahim has his team throwing different looks at opponents often, including a press that can cause issues for Xavier, who is 129th in turnover percentage.

This will not be an easy first round matchup for Sean Miller’s Musketeers with the Owls’ ability to gash the overrated Xavier defense.

Track all of Reed’s bets at Betstamp HERE!
Game odds refresh periodically and are subject to change.