Sweet 16 Predictions: Xavier Musketeers vs. Baylor Bears 3/23/12

Last Updated: March 22nd, 2012 by Adam Markowitz (Bankroll Sports Columnist)
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Our Sweet 16 predictions kick off on Friday night in the South Region, where the Baylor Bears and the Xavier Musketeers duke it out for the right to go to the Elite 8. Check out our Baylor vs. Xavier keys to the game!

2012 Sweet 16 Matchup: #10 Xavier Musketeers vs. #3 Baylor Bears
East Region Location: Phillips Arena, Atlanta, GA
Sweet 16 Date/Time: Friday, March 23rd, 7:15 p.m.
Xavier vs. Baylor Television Coverage: CBS

Key #1: Mark Lyons has to make an appearance in this game
When Tu Holloway was out of the lineup earlier this year, it was Lyons that really stepped up with some big time games. That being said, we know that even with Holloway on the court, Lyons should be averaging at least 12-14 points per game, if not at least his average of 15.0 points per game. Thus far in the dance though, the X-Men have gotten virtually nothing out of their second leading scorer. Lyons has no choice but to do better in this battle, because these Bears are a heck of a lot better than either the Lehigh Mountain Hawks or the Notre Dame Fighting Irish. Scoring seven or eight points as he has in his first two games here in the dance simply isn’t going to cut it whatsoever.

Sweet 16 Odds at Wager Web Sportsbook
Xavier Musketeers +6
Baylor Bears -6
Over/Under 141.5
Click Here to Bet Your Sweet 16 Picks!

Key #2: Xavier absolutely cannot get in foul trouble
We know that Baylor isn’t all that deep of a team, and you would figure that it would go without saying that the Bears have to stay out of foul trouble as well. However, there isn’t a player on the court for Baylor that averages more than a shade above three fouls per game, and it is very rare that any of the starting five really have to spend that much time on the bunch for anything but rest. The X-Men though, are a totally different story. Holloway, Lyons, and especially Kenny Frease have to be careful not to commit too many fouls, not just to keep themselves on the court, but to keep Baylor off of the foul line as well. Save for Perry Jones III, all of the shooters are knocking down at least 76.5 percent of their free throws, and Brady Heslip virtually never misses, hitting 93.8 percent of his attempts at the charity stripe. The Bears make a living at the free throw line because of their aggressiveness, but Xavier has to limit that if it hopes to get to the Elite 8.


Key #3: The Bears can’t get frustrated by the length of the Xavier defense
The one thing that really seemed to frustrate Baylor this year in the games that it lost was going against defenses that are big, long, tall, and athletic. Xavier brings just that to the table, and it is going to be the first time here in the dance that the Bears have had to face something like that. These X-Men average coming up with 6.4 steals and 4.0 blocks per game, and those are the type of stats that lead to them having one of the best shooting percentages allowed in the nation. This is one of the few teams in the land that can boast that opponents are shooting under 40 percent against it, and if Baylor can’t get out of that funk and gets frustrated too much by a rock solid defense, it won’t survive and move on to the weekend.

Click Here to get the best March Madness picks that you’ll find on the internet, including our NCAA Tournament picks and the Sweet 16 picks for the rest of the NCAA Tournament game odds.

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Posted in NCAA Basketball - Last Updated on Thursday, March 22nd, 2012 @ 1:06 pm (EST)
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