Home News Pittsburgh vs. Xavier prediction and odds for NCAA Tournament Second Round

Pittsburgh vs. Xavier prediction and odds for NCAA Tournament Second Round

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In all but one year since the expansion of the NCAA Tournament to include the First Four an 11 seed has advanced out of the first round of the ‘Big Dance,’ and this year is no different with the Pitt Panthers.

The Panthers defeated two defensive minded opponents in Mississippi State and Iowa State and now get the opposite on Sunday against a high powered offense in Xavier. The Musketeers had to rally in the second half against Kennesaw State in the first round, erasing a double digit deficit to win 72-67.

How will Pitt handle the change in offensive efficiency? Can Xavier find its footing after avoiding a massive upset?

Here are the odds for this Round of 32 matchup:

Pittsburgh vs. Xavier odds, spread and total

Pittsburgh vs. Xavier prediction and pick

Both of these teams are lopsided with a heavy emphasis on the offensive end, but I do think the jump in class is going to hurt Pitt.

While the Panthers were able to handle two poor offenses like Mississippi State and Iowa State, allowing a combined 100 points across the two games, this Xavier offense will be a different animal, top 10 in adjusted offensive efficiency per KenPom. For reference, after their putrid offensive performances, Iowa State ranks 110th in the same metric and Miss. State checks in 172nd.

Pitt plays a compact defense that tries to limit driving lanes, but Xavier has the perimeter shooting to open up the floor, the Musketeers are fourth in the country in three-point percentage. After stretching the defense, Sean Miller can deploy Jack Nunge in the post as the seven footer can cause issues for the Pitt frontcourt that has had to lean on the freshman duo of Guillermo and Jorge Diaz Graham to great success thus far, but this is a freshman duo of twins that is giving up almost 50 pounds to the veteran Nunge.

Meanwhile, Pitt’s offense has relied on free throws and simply ineffective offense to date in the tourney. The team has taken 44 free throws across games and is shooting about 35% on two-point shots. Granted, these are against elite defenses, but Xavier’s defense does have a rim protector in Nunge and limit three’s at a top 100 rate.

I think we see some natural regression come for Pitt against an elite offense and Xavier advances to the Sweet 16 in convincing fashion.

Track all of Reed’s bets at Betstamp HERE!

Game odds refresh periodically and are subject to change.