The Sweet 16 of the 2023 NCAA Tournament rolls on with the Midwest Region featuring two heavyweights in No. 3 Xavier facing No. 2 Texas. Tip-off is scheduled for 9:45 p.m. ET from the T-Mobile Center in Kansas City.
Let’s preview this matchup and predict the final score.
No. 3 Xavier vs. No. 2 Texas Prediction
Odds from DraftKings Sportsbook
Spread: Texas -4.5
Moneyline: Texas -190, Xavier +160
The Musketeers dispatched No. 14 Kennesaw State and No. 11 Pittsburgh to punch their ticket to the Sweet 16, led by the balanced attack of seniors Souley Boum and Jack Nunge. Boum, who is shooting a strong 40% from beyond the arc, gives Xavier an athletic and aggressive scorer that should keep the Longhorns honest in the paint. Nunge provides size and a physical presence on the low post, as he’s averaging 14.1 points, 7.7 rebounds, and 1.2 blocks per game. The Musketeers have the 10th-best scoring offense in the nation (81.2 PPG), but Texas is just as equipped to match them offensively.
The Big 12 champions have a reliable offensive outlet in Marcus Carr, who averages 15.8 points, three rebounds, and four assists per game. He’s also a very capable shooter from outside, finishing 4-for-6 from downtown in the opening round versus No. 15 Colgate. Additionally, Tyrese Hunter gives them a quick and explosive playmaker in the backcourt, with the Wisconsin native averaging 10.1 points, 3.1 rebounds, and 2.5 assists per game.
The Musketeers' history in big games doesn’t exactly work in their favor here, and with defense being key throughout this tournament I would give the edge to the Longhorns. Texas has one of the better defenses in the country, having allowed 67.2 PPG to their opponents in the regular season, so I like their chances of bottling up Xavier in this one.
The Musketeers were able to catch Pitt slipping in the Round of 32, but they were on the ropes against Kennesaw State in a five-point win. On a level-playing field, I like the Longhorns to come out on top with their defense giving them the edge here.
Prediction: Texas 77, Xavier 70