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Kennesaw State vs Xavier Predictions & Odds – Musketeers Favored by 12.5 in First Round of NCAA Tournament

Chris Amberley

by Chris Amberley in College Basketball

Mar 16, 2023 · 12:23 PM PDT

Xavier Musketeers player intros
Xavier Musketeers forward Jack Nunge (24) is introduced before the first half of an NCAA college basketball game against the Marquette Golden Eagles during the championship round of the Big East Conference tournament, Saturday, March 11, 2023, at Madison Square Garden in New York. Xavier Marquette Big East Basketball Tournament March 11 0113
  • Xavier is laying 12.5 points in the Kennesaw State vs Xavier odds in Friday’s first round March Madness action
  • The Musketeers lead the nation in assists, and rank top-10 in offensive efficiency
  • Check out the latest Kennesaw State vs Xavier odds, plus betting splits, key trends and predictions

Three years ago Kennesaw State (26-8) was the second lowest graded team in the country per KenPom. Fast forward to this week and they’re getting set for their first ever March Madness appearance.

The Owls won the A-Sun title to earn their spot in the NCAA Tournament. Their reward, a first round meeting with Xavier (25-9) in the Midwest Region’s 14 vs 3 matchup.

Online sportsbooks don’t expect much from Kennesaw State in its debut, as the Musketeers are the heavy chalk in the college basketball odds.

Kennesaw State vs Xavier Odds

Team Spread Moneyline Total
Kennesaw State Owls +12.5 (-110) +575 O 154 (-110)
Xavier Musketeers -12.5 (-110) -800 U 154 (-110)

Xavier is currently favored by 12.5 points, in a contest that features a total of 154, the second highest of Friday’s slate. Tip-off is scheduled for 12:40 pm ET at the Greensboro Coliseum, in Greensboro, NC, with truTV providing the coverage.

 

Odds as of March 16 at DraftKings Sportsbook. See full list of March Madness betting promos.ย 

Kennesaw State vs Xavier Betting Splits

The Musketeers opened up as 11 point favorites, but that number didn’t last long. Xavier money drove the line up to 12.5, but we’re finally seeing some buy back on Kennesaw State. The Owls are currently drawing 72% of the spread handle, off of just 49% of the ATS tickets. That means those who are betting big, are on Kennesaw State.

Total wise, the line has hovered around 154 all week. Xavier boasts one of the nation’s most efficient offenses, while the Owls aren’t exactly know for their defense. Kennesaw State does however, boasts a better scoring defense than the Musketeers, which leaves the light on for a ceiling performance for the Owls offense.

Kennesaw State vs Xavier Betting Trends

Kennesaw State is led by a trio of upperclassmen, two of which patrol the backcourt. They shoot the ball from the field very well, ranking top-60 in effective field goal percentage and 34th in three-point efficiency.ย  That’s the good news if you’re backing the Owls against the spread. The bad news is they don’t do the little things particularly well.

Kennesaw State ranks 260th on the offensive glass and 201st in turnovers per game. They’re one of the worst free throw shooting teams, ranking 329th, which is unfortunate since they get to the line 21 times per game. If we see a boost in free throw efficiency, there’s a good chance they can keep this game close based on their performance both inside and outside the three-point line.

Defensively, they’re going to have a tough time slowing the Musketeers. Xavier ranks top-10 in offensive efficiency and number one in assists. They shoot 40% from three and feature four active players who score in double figures.

One player we won’t see in this year’s March Madness bracket is Zach Freemantle. The Musketeers leading rebounder and second leading scorer is out for the season after having foot surgery, leaving a six-foot-10 hole in the middle of Xavier’s offense.

Kennesaw State vs Xavier Predictions

The Musketeers went 6-2 down the stretch without Freemantle, scoring at least 82 points six times. His replacement Jerome Hunter stepped in admirably, averaging 7.3 points and 4 rebounds per contest, and the Xavier offense didn’t miss a beat outside of a loss to Marquette in the Big East title game.

The Musketeers offense dominated almost every program they faced this season, and they were especially efficient versus teams ranked outside the top-125, like Kennesaw State. Against such competition, Xavier was 7-0 averaging 90 points per contest.

The over hit in six of those matchups, and given the fact they’re not nearly as strong defensively, the Owls should be able to punch back. Xavier is a top-18 NCAA Tournament odds contender, despite ranking 70th in defensive efficiency.

The total, 154, is a big number, but this game sets up as one that will clear it.

Pick: Over 154 (-110)

 

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