Xavier vs Maryland March Madness Betting Spread, Pick & TV Info

Posted by Peter Boysen on March 15, 2017 in

The sixth-seeded Maryland Terrapins (24-8, 12-6 Big Ten) take on the 11th-seeded Xavier Musketeers (21-13, 9-9 Big East) on Thursday in the opening round of the NCAA men’s basketball tournament. Maryland finished their conference slate well but then got bounced out of the Big Ten tournament by Northwestern in the first round. Xavier stumbled down the stretch in Big East play but then knocked off Butler in the first round of the Big East tournament and almost took down Creighton as well. Here’s an preview of the game with the latest March Madness spread.

Xavier vs Maryland March Madness Betting Spread, Pick & TV Info

When: Thursday, March 16, 2017, 6:50pm ET
Where: Amway Center, Orlando, FL
Radio: Xavier / Maryland
Stream Option: March Madness Live
NCAAB Odds: Maryland at -2

Why should you bet on the Musketeers?

Xavier lost Myles Davis when he left the team, and then starting point guard Edmond Sumner went down with an ACL injury late in January, leading the team into a six-game slide. However, their improvement late in conference play and their impressive play in the tournament shows that they may have made the adjustments that they need. They rank #26 in the nation in rebounding percentage, and they also get to the free throw line a lot, ranking #39 in free throw attempts per game. Guard Trevon Bluiett has picked up the slack in Sumner’s absence, putting up 18 points per game, and dishing out 2.1 assists. J.P. Macura, the other starting guard, makes 15 points per game and dishes out 2.9 assists. You don’t want to foul him, because he makes 80 percent of his charity stripe attempts.

Why should you put your money on the Terrapins?

Xavier rotates three players who are at least 6’9” — so why do they only rank #290 in the nation at block rate, with 11%? They also shoot much worse from inside than you think that they would. So there could be plenty of room for Maryland center Damonte Dodd to operate. Also, Maryland has three scorers who average double figures: Melo Trimble (17.0), Anthony Cowan (10.5) and Justin Jackson (10.4). So Maryland definitely has the weapons to work their way past Xavier, but their struggles down the stretch show inconsistency on both offense and defense. That loss to Northwestern was particularly troubling — yes, Northwestern was trying to claw their way into their first NCAA tournament appearance in school history, but Maryland hasn’t shown a lot of heart since late January. They will need to show a major about-face to take down Xavier.

Betting Pick and Final Score Prediction

Maryland got its six-seed in this tournament because of the early part of their season — strong non-conference play and a solid opening in Big Ten action. However, Xavier has played better down the stretch, especially in the last two or three weeks. I predict a 74-66 Xavier win.