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Xavier vs. Texas preview, picks for Sweet 16 of 2023 NCAA Tournament

The Bulldogs and the Longhorns meet at the T-Mobile Center in the Sweet 16 of the 2023 NCAA Tournament. We’ve got everything you need on both teams ahead of the game here.

Penn State v Texas Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images

The No. 3 Xavier Bulldogs take on the No. 2 Texas Longhorns in a Sweet Sixteen matchup at the T-Mobile Center in Kansas City on Friday, March 24. The game will air on CBS at 9:45 p.m. ET. The Longhorns enter as 4-point favorites.

No. 3 Xavier (27-9, 15-5 Big East)

First-round result: Defeated Kennesaw State, 72-67
Second-round result: Defeated Pitt, 84-73
KenPom rating: 16 Overall, 8 Offense, 73Defense
NET ranking: 22, (8-6 VS Quad 1)
Leading scorer: Souley Boum, 17 ppg
Key stat: 19.2 assists per game (1st in the nation)

Xavier had a close call against Kennesaw State, coming back in a big way late in the second half to advance. They held off a hot Pitt team in the second round, recording six steals and shooting 33.3% from the perimeter. Their defense held Pitt to 38.6% from the field. Xavier is a team that relies heavily on its passing game, averaging a nation-high 19.2 assists per game. However, this could be a challenging strategy against a Texas team that ranks in the top 50 for steals and turnovers forced per game.

No. 2 Texas (28-8, 12-6 Big XII)

First-round result: Defeated Colgate, 81-61
Second-round result: Defeated Penn State, 71-66
KenPom rating: 7 Overall, 18 Offense, 11 Defense
NET ranking: 7, (14-8 VS Quad 1)
Leading scorer: Marcus Carr, 15.9 ppg
Key stat: 77.8 ppg (40th in the nation)

Texas’ performance against Penn State was particularly impressive after the Nittany Lions nearly took down Purdue in the Big Ten Championship Game and easily defeated Texas A&M in the first round. The Longhorns force 15.9 turnovers per game (19th in the nation) and record 7.9 steals per game (50th in the nation), both of which will be helpful defenses against Xavier’s ball movement. Texas struggled from the perimeter but went 50.8% from the field against Penn State, led by a 28-point performance from Dylan Disu.

Odds from DraftKings Sportsbook

Point spread: Texas -4
Point total: 148.5
Moneyline: Texas -190, Xavier +160

The Pick

Against The Spread Pick: Texas -4
Point total pick: Under 148.5
Pick to Win: Texas -190

Xavier is a solid team that has struggled with inconsistency during this tournament, going on cold streaks from the field that have put them in risky situations on the court. Texas will be able to take advantage of that more than their previous two opponents did.