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Pick on the spread for Kennesaw State-Xavier on March 17

VSiN’s Greg Peterson goes over the best betting options for Friday’s college basketball matchup between the Kennesaw State Owls and Xavier Musketeers.

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NCAA Basketball: Kennesaw State at Nebraska Steven Branscombe-USA TODAY Sports

Just three seasons ago, the Kennesaw State Owls finished with a 1-29 record but find themselves as a 14-seed taking on the Xavier Musketeers in the NCAA Tournament on Friday.

Kennesaw State Owls and Xavier Musketeers (-12.5, 154)

Usually, the lower-seeded mid-major school in a matchup like this has a clear depth disadvantage, but that is not this case for Kennesaw State, who dresses nine different guys that average at least 10.5 minutes per game.

During conference play, Xavier lost starting forward Zach Freemantle for the season, who averaged 15.2 points and a team-high 8.2 rebounds per game. The injury has left the team with a rotation of just six players that average more than 10.5 minutes per game.

Including the game where Freemantle picked up his injury against the Creighton Bluejays, Xavier has scored 68 points or fewer in four of its last eight games on the road and will need to heavily rely on its shooting, especially with the way it has given up points this season.

Overall this season, Xavier has given up nearly the same amount of points per possession with and without Freemantle on the court, and as a result, ranks 172nd in the nation in points allowed per possession.

Xavier's biggest weakness is its perimeter defense, ranking 282nd in opponent 3-point shooting percentage, likely a big issue in this particular matchup. Kennesaw State enters Friday ranked 15th in the nation in 3-point shooting percentage when playing on the road or in a neutral court environment at 38%.

With Xavier ranking 308th in turnovers forced per defensive play, Kennesaw State should find plenty of clean possessions, enough to scare Xavier in the Round of 64.

The Play: Kennesaw State +12.5

Get Peterson’s spread and total lines for every game on the college basketball board.

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