Maryland (24-8) vs. Xavier (21-13) Prediction & Game Preview
NCAA Tournament: Maryland vs. Xavier fearless prediction and game preview.
Date: Thursday, March 16
Game Time: 6:50 ET
Venue: Amway Center, Orlando, FL
All You Really Need To Know About Maryland
(Big Ten) RPI: 34, 6 seed
This might be as maddening as any team in the country, but all the parts are in place to go on a deep run. The Terps were dogs over the finishing kick, losing six of their final ten games, including a home date against Northwestern in the Big Ten Tournament.
There’s no positive consistency on either end of the court over the last several weeks, and there are way too many mistakes – and too many turnovers – but if the team wakes up, the talent is in place to be interesting. Or it’ll be a first round flameout.
All You Really Need To Know About Xavier
(Big East) 21-13 RPI: 37, 11 seed
Sputtering across the finish line, the Musketeers had a disastrous February, losing six straight before getting a few free-space wins over DePaul before pulling off a Big East tournament shocker over Butler.
There’s little to no defense in key situations – offenses are hitting 45% of their shots – there’s nothing happening from three, and the free throw shooting is awful, but they’re wonderful on the boards – it’s one of the nation’s best rebuilding teams – and it moves the ball around well.
The offense bogs down way too much – it’s over if it has to try making a comeback of any sort.
What’s Going To Happen
Neither team has played well over the last several weeks, but can the Musketeer team that shocked Butler in the Big East tournament find that extra gear again? No, but it’ll keep it close.
Maryland is going to negate the Xavier rebounding factor just enough to survive and move on – but it’s not going to be pretty. Both teams turn the ball over, but the Terps a just a wee bit better inside. It’ll be a fight in one of the first round’s toughest battles.
Fearless Prediction & Line
Maryland 68, Xavier 65
Line: Maryland -2
ATS Confidence: 1.5
5: Leave Vegas richer in body, mind & spirit
1: Leave the sportsbook, get tickets for Menopause The Musical or Puppetry of the Penis