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Marquette vs. Xavier
Betting Line: Xavier -2 o/u 140
It's trivia time here at Bettorsworld.com and the first question is this: Which two teams are the only ones to reach the Sweet Sixteen in each of the last three seasons? The first team, Michigan State, is fairly easy to come up with. The Xavier Musketeers (24-7) however might surprise you. Despite dealing with a revolving coaching door the small private Jesuit College in Cincinnati, OH has built one of the top programs in the last 10 years. Now under alumnus Chris Mack, the Muskies are strong as ever.
The Marquette Golden Eagles (20-14) have the unenviable task of trying to send Xavier home early. They have a lot of losses, but their wins are as good as any team could hope for. Marquette beat West Virginia (twice), Notre Dame, Syracuse and Connecticut. They certainly will go into this feeling like they can and probably should win. It all begins with senior swingman Jimmy Butler (16 PPG, 6.1 RPG). He posted 19 in a win over Syracuse. Junior Jae Crowder (11.7 PPG, 6.8 RPG) had huge production in the middle of the season, but has slowed towards the end of the year. It's important for him to play his A-game in the NCAA Tournament.
Junior PG Tu Holloway(20.2 PPG, 5.5 APG, 5.1 RPG) leads the chargers for Xavier. He has two triple-doubles this year and just missed a third when he only had 9 rebounds. He scored 26 points against Florida and Gonzaga in narrow loses, and had 28 against Wofford. Perhaps his best game was when he scored 33 against A-10 Tournament champion Richmond. Holloway is an excellent free throw shooter at 86.9%. The Golden Eagles have seen a lot of good players in the Big East, but make no mistake; Holloway is as good as any guard they have played this year. If he plays a huge game the Musketeers win.
Other important players for the Muskeeters are Kenny Frease, Jamal McLean and Mark Lyons. Frease and McLean provide a significant advantage in the paint, but it could be Lyons that makes the difference. He was pivotal in the Muskies win over Temple as he scored 19 points. Lyons is a good sharp shooter and can hit three pointers. Marquette plays poor around the perimeter and he will make them pay if he gets hot.
Predicted Score: Marquette 75 Xavier 70
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