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NCAA Midwest: Xavier vs Kennesaw State Prediction, Game Preview, Live Stream, Odds and Picks

Owls Next 14 Seed in Line for Win?

When sorting through college basketball odds, it’s vital to select several upsets. Selecting 15 or 16 seeds is too risky, as we have rarely seen either happen. However, a No. 14 seed over a No. 3 seed is not far-fetched. In 2021, Abilene Christian knocked out Texas in the first round. From 2013-16, we saw five No. 14 seeds win in the Round of 64.

No. 3 Xavier (25-9) against No. 14 Kennesaw State (26-8) is one of the most enticing matchups. The Musketeers come off a lopsided loss, and the Owls have won five consecutive games while going 4-1 against the spread (ATS). The sportsbook has three No. 3 and No.14 games with a point spread of fewer than 12 points. Xavier is favored by 11½, which is the second-highest among the four matchups. Will Kennesaw State become the next 14 seed to pull off a stunner?

NCAA Midwest: Xavier vs Kennesaw State Prediction, Game Preview, Live Stream, Odds and Picks
NCAA Midwest: Xavier vs Kennesaw State Prediction, Game Preview, Live Stream, Odds and Picks

Xavier Seeking Consistency

Headed into March Madness, the Musketeers have one major concern. Is Xavier capable of a deep run without its third-leading scorer? Forward Zach Freemantle (15.2 points, 8.1 rebounds) sustained a season-ending foot injury in the final week of January.

The Musketeers experienced a rough stretch in February, going 1-3 and 2-2 ATS during a four-game stretch. However, the Big East squad has found its footing, winning five of its last six. There are real concerns about the team’s consistency. We saw Xavier dominate Creighton in the semifinal of the Big East Tournament with a 22-point win. In the final, the Musketeers lost 65-51 against Marquette while shooting only 34% from the floor.

March Madness predictions for a deep Xavier run are still in the picture. NCAA basketball odds have the Musketeers to make the Elite Eight at +325 and +900 to win the Midwest region. Xavier will need increased production from guard Souley Boum (16.5 points) and consistency from center Jack Nunge (14.1 points, 7.8 rebounds).

Owls Tasked with Slowing Top-10 Offense

In the last six tournaments, only five teams outside the top 100 in Kenpom have won a Round of 64 games. Kennesaw State is 127th in Kenpom ratings. The Owls have a tough task ahead, especially against Xavier’s offense ranked ninth in efficiency. How can Kennesaw State join the rare company?

During the Owls’ five-game win streak, defense has been their calling card. Opponents averaged 65 points during the span, compared to Kennesaw State’s season average of 70.8 allowed points per game. Four of the last five opponents have shot 41% or worse from the field. The Musketeers are fifth nationally at 49.4% shooting.

Guards Chris Youngblood (14.7 points) and Terrell Burden (13.5 points) must turn in big performances to keep up with Xavier’s offense. Burden is averaging 19.5 points over the last two games. With poor guard play, the Owls will be hard-pressed to cover sports bets.

Xavier vs Kennesaw State Game Injuries

Xavier vs Kennesaw State Head-to-Head

The programs have never met. Kennesaw State moved to Division I for the 2005-06 season.

Xavier vs Kennesaw State Game Information

  • Game: No. 3 Xavier (25-9) vs. No. 14 Kennesaw State (26-8)
  • Location: Greensboro Coliseum, Greensboro, N.C.
  • Day/Time: Friday, March 17, 12:40 p.m. ET
  • Xavier vs Kennesaw Live stream: TBS.com

Xavier vs Kennesaw State Betting Lines

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Xavier vs Kennesaw State Picks and Prediction

Kennesaw State has one major problem in this matchup. Its pace of play favors Xavier. The Musketeers want to play fast with their potent offense, as they are in the 92nd percentile of attempted field goals per game. The Owls must look to slow the game down.

Youngblood and Burden are playing well enough to hang with Xavier’s formidable backcourt. Plus, Kennesaw State’s defense is hitting its stride and ranks in the top 100 of forced turnovers per game. The Musketeers rank outside the top 200 at 12.6 turnovers per game. College basketball lines feature a healthy point spread. The Owls should be able to cover this, but look for Xavier to escape with a win.

Xavier is listed at -775 in our Las Vegas college basketball lines. This means that if you wager $100 on the Musketeers, you have a chance to win $13. Kennesaw State is +525, offering a chance to win $525 on a $100 wager.

The implied probability attached to the betting lines gives Xavier an 88.57% chance to win, with the Owls at 16.00%.

March Madness 2023 First Round
March Madness 2023 First Round

Xavier vs Kennesaw State Edge

Xavier vs Kennesaw State Results

Xavier vs Kennesaw State Game Summary

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