Huffpost Sports

Sweet 16: Baylor, Xavier Face Off In NCAA Tournament [Predict]

Posted: Updated:
ALBUQUERQUE, NM - MARCH 17: Pierre Jackson #55 of the Baylor Bears shoots against the Colorado Buffaloes during the 2012 NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament.
ALBUQUERQUE, NM - MARCH 17: Pierre Jackson #55 of the Baylor Bears shoots against the Colorado Buffaloes during the 2012 NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament.

By Greg Mengelt, CollegeHoops.Net

(3) Baylor vs. (10) Xavier: South Region
 

Records
Baylor 29-7, 12-6 Big 12 (At large)
Xavier 23-12, 10-6 A-10 (At large)
 
Time: 7:15 p.m. Friday
 
TV: CBS
 
Location: Georgia Dome in Atlanta
 
Winner will face: (1) Kentucky or (4) Indiana, Sunday
 
Tournament Results
Baylor def. South Dakota State, 68-60; def. Colorado, 80-63
Xavier def. Notre Dame, 67-63; def. Lehigh, 70-58
 
Rankings
Baylor No. 9 AP; No. 10 ESPN/USA Today Coaches Poll
 
RPI Ratings
Baylor 9
Xavier 37
 
Line: Baylor -6 (O/U 140)

 
Players to Watch
 
Baylor: F Perry Jones III, 6-11 So. (13.9 ppg, 7.7 rpg, 49.4% FG); G Pierre Jackson, 5-10 Jr. (13.5 ppg, 5.8 apg, 41.8% 3s); G Brady Heslip, 6-2 So. (10.3 ppg, 45.5% FG, 45.6% 3s). If Heslip shoots like he did against Colorado – 9-of-13 from the 3-point line for 27 points – there may not be a team in the country that can beat the Bears.
 
Xavier: G Tu Holloway, 6-0 Sr. (17.3 ppg, 5 apg, 1.3 spg); G Mark Lyons, 6-1 Jr. (15.3 ppg, 3.3 rpg, 2.8 apg, 1.3 spg); C Kenny Frease, 7-0 Sr. (9.5 ppg, 6 rpg, 1.1 bpg). Frease had a season-high 25 points – his previous best was 19 in a 65-57 win over Richmond – and had his first double-double since March 3 with 12 boards in Sunday’s win over Lehigh.
 
Why Each Team Is Dangerous
 
Baylor: The Bears are long and athletic, causing mismatches for almost every team they face. Against Colorado, Baylor out-rebounded the Buffaloes 34-27 and got 13 offensive boards. For the year, Baylor out-rebounds opponents by 5.4 per game. They also forced 13 turnovers, including nine steals. The Bears average 7.6 steals and force 14.2 turnovers per game. Led by Heslip, they were 11-for-20 from the 3-point line. All season, the Bears have been solid behind the arc, hitting 38.6 percent.
 
Xavier: Holloway is a great leader who usually saves his best performances for the biggest games, including 46 points through two games of this year’s tournament. Lyons and freshman Dez Wells make up a strong backcourt, helping the Musketeers average 13.2 assists and six steals per game. Xavier excels through its defense, which allows opponents to shoot just 39.9 percent from the floor and 30.5 percent from the arc this season. Lehigh, which entered Sunday’s game red-hot, shot just 21-for-64 against the Musketeers.
 
Why Each Team Is Vulnerable
 
Baylor: The Bears are far too error-prone, averaging 13.8 turnovers per game. Despite their incredible size and an almost nightly athleticism advantage, Baylor often prefers to stick to shooting jump shots. That has led to only 46.9 percent from the field for the year. Their inconsistency has also been noted, even by Xavier coach Chris Mack. Although Mack said in a radio interview with Dan Dakich Monday that he’s sure the Bears will come to play, lack of intensity is always a concern for fans in Waco.
 
Xavier: Frease is inconsistent and prone to foul trouble. Xavier has very little frontline depth and out-rebounds opponents just 36.4-34.1 per game. They also allow opponents to rebound 30.2 percent of their misses and gave up 13 offensive boards to a smaller Lehigh team, which could be a big concern against the bigger, more athletic Baylor frontline. X turns the ball over 12.5 times per game and allows opponents 6.4 steals per contest. Their 69.2 percent free throw shooting is also a concern.
 
The Bottom Line: On the one hand, Xavier has a tough time guarding the paint and will be overwhelmed by Baylor’s bigs. On the other, Baylor has had a tough time guarding the perimeter and the Musketeer guards could torch the Bears. Tough line, but I like the way Baylor’s guards played against Colorado.
 
CollegeHoops.Net Pick: Baylor 75, Xavier 67
 
Greg Against the Spread This Season: 214-164-6
NCAA Tournament (through first two rounds): 27-21-1
 

Around the Web

2012 NCAA tournament -- A first look at the Sweet 16 field - ESPN

2012 NCAA Tournament Bracket - March Madness Tournament ...

Ranking the Sweet 16 teams in the NCAA tournament

NCAA Tournament 2012: Sweet 16 breakdown - NCAA Basketball ...

NCAA tournament 2012 -- Sweet 16 power rankings - ESPN

Ohio Bobcats hope Sweet 16 puts them on map

NCAA tournament: Previewing Thursday's Sweet 16 games

The Sweet 16: Even for the No. 1 seeds, survival isn'ta given

Sweet 16 offers many great storylines

Sweet 16 Preview: East Region

Power Rankings: Sweet 16 Edition

Sweet 16 first impressions

 
From Our Partners