The Vanderbilt Commodores and Xavier Musketeers have a date in the NIT at Xavier University in Cincinnati. Xavier was a team that was constantly on the bubble this season.
You didn’t really know what was going to happen with the Musketeers in a wide-open Big East. From the start, Xavier looked like a clear NCAA Tournament team most of the time.
However, the same could be said on the other side of the coin late in the year. Xavier looked sloppy and unprepared down the stretch. The NIT was ultimately the perfect spot for them this season.
Play hard. Play smart. Play together.
See you in Cintas tomorrow night! pic.twitter.com/lsQWe2biuX
— Xavier Basketball (@XavierMBB) March 21, 2022
The Musketeers exited the Big East Tournament in an upset in the first-round. They didn’t take the Butler Bulldogs seriously and paid for it with an 89-82 loss in overtime.
Xavier lost five of their last six games in the regular season. The only win was a 97-75 victory over a bad Georgetown to get their confidence back, or so they believed.
With Xavier one-and-done in the Big East Tournament, that wasn’t the case. Xavier was nearly upset as an 11-point favorite versus the Cleveland State Vikings in the NIT opener.
It wasn’t until their most recent outing that Xavier showed signs of life. They pulled away from the Florida Gators in an impressive 72-56 win. It’s the first impressive effort from the Musketeers in a while.
Xavier could be without an important player in guard Paul Scruggs despite the win. The fifth-year guard is questionable to play tonight with a knee injury.
It looked worse than it actually was, fortunately. However, they are pointing towards not playing without Scruggs versus Vanderbilt.
Head below for our free Vanderbilt vs. Xavier prediction on March 22, 2022.
Vanderbilt Commodores vs. Xavier Musketeers Betting Odds and Team Statistics:
The following odds are courtesy of BetOnline:
|Vanderbilt Commodores||+2.5 (-110)||+125||Over 142.5 (-110)|
|Xavier Musketeers||-2.5 (-110)||-145||Under 142.5 (-110)|
|Team Data||Vanderbilt Commodores||Xavier Musketeers|
|Points Per Game||69.5||73.7|
|Points Against Per Game||67.5||68.6|
|Field Goal %||42.3||44.5|
|Three Point %||33.6||32.8|
Vanderbilt vs. Xavier Prediction:
The Paul Scruggs injury isn’t the end of the world for Xavier, but his absence will hurt with depth and would take a leader off the floor.
For a team that tripped themselves up down the stretch, it was important for a fifth-year senior like Scruggs to pull them together going into the NIT. This is a contest between two even teams, so any negative you can find might end up being huge, though.
Xavier goes into tonight 116th in the country with 73.7 points per game. When they needed a clutch three, this was often not there for the Musketeers.
The Musketeers shot just 32.8% from three this season for 232rd in the NCAA during the regular season. This is where Vanderbilt could have an advantage in this one.
The Musketeers could be down a talented guard, and they’ve been good on teams around the perimeter. The Commodores are 41st in the nation with a 30.% three-point percentage against.
Overall, Vanderbilt held up well, with 67.5 points allowed per game this season. They played in a very good SEC, with several good teams, so that is more than acceptable. Vanderbilt is battle-tested for this matchup on Tuesday night.
Vanderbilt Commodores vs. Xavier Musketeers Betting Trends:
- 15-5-1 ATS in their previous 21 games as an underdog on the road
- 9-2 ATS in their previous 11 games versus a team with a winning percentage better than 60%
- 7-1 ATS in their previous eight games after a win
- 5-1 ATS in their previous six games in March
- 5-0 ATS in their previous five games as an underdog
- 2-7 ATS in their previous nine games
- 3-9 ATS in their previous 12 games at home
- 5-14 ATS in their previous 19 games
- 1-9 ATS in their previous ten games after a win
- 1-6 ATS in their previous seven games versus a team with a winning record
Vanderbilt were playing quality basketball towards the end of the season in the SEC. They beat Ole Miss on the road as a 2-point underdog, 63-61, followed up with a 86-51 win over the Georgia Bulldogs in the first-round of the SEC Tournament.
The Commodores played Kentucky tough in the next round of the conference tournament, with a 77-71 loss to cover the 11 points despite losing. Vanderbilt has scored 78.2 points per game in their previous five games going into Xavier.
I’m pointing towards Vanderbilt as a road underdog after a close win against Dayton in overtime, 70-68. In a matchup of teams that match up evenly, the points look like the best value in the NIT before the tournament turns to NYC.