The NCAA Tournament second round Continues on Friday. In the South Region the No. 7 seed Notre Dame Fighting Irish will take on the No. 10 seed Xavier Musketeers. The game is scheduled for a 9:45 pm start time and it will be televised nationally on CBS. Currently the odds have Notre Dame favored by 2.5 points with the total for the game sitting at 124.5 points. The 10th-seeded Xavier Musketeers will try to take down the seventh-seeded Notre Dame Fighting Irish as the two programs meet in the second round of the 2012 NCAA Tournament.
Free Analysis: Xavier comes in with a 21-12 overall record after finishing tied for third in the Atlantic 10 Conference. The Musketeers earned an at-large bid with an impressive performance in the Atlantic 10 Conference Tournament which ended with a loss to the St. Bonaventure Bonnies. Coach Chris Mack has now led the Musketeers to the NCAA Tournament in each of his first three seasons. Ranked as high as eighth in the nation during the first month of the season, the Musketeers went into a tailspin after a brawl marred the end of their blowout win over Cincinnati on Dec. 10. They lost five of their next six games before regrouping over the season's final weeks. Xavier will lean on its talent-laden backcourt to lead it deep into the NCAA Tournament. Senior point guard Tu Holloway paces the team with averages of 17.0 points and 5.1 assists per game. He is the only player to rank in the top five in the A-10 in both categories. Junior forward Mark Lyons is the club's second scoring option and carries an average of 15.5 ppg. Senior center Kenny Frease has stepped up his play at the right time, posting 13.1 points and 7.7 rebounds per outing over his last seven games. Xavier, which attempted more free throws than any team in the Atlantic 10, also has committed exactly as many turnovers this season (420) as it has forced. To move on in the tourney the Musketeers will need to deliver strong defensive performances, as they are 17-3 this season when holding opponents under 70 points. The seventh-seeded Fighting Irish (22-11) lost preseason all-Big East pick Tim Abromaitis to a season-ending knee injury in November, then lost four of nine to start the season. They stood at just 11-8 in the middle of January before a nine-game winning streak - starting against unbeaten Syracuse - finally got Notre Dame moving in the right direction. Notre Dame came up short of its first Big East Conference Tournament title its last time out as it had a poor showing in a 64-50 loss to Louisville. Kenny Frease will have to do his best against Notre Dame's Jack Cooley, as the big man finished the season with seven double-doubles in his last 10 games to earn Second Team All-Big East honors. Cooley's improvement helped the progress of freshman guard Jerian Grant, who was able to lead the team in points, assists, and steals during his rookie campaign. Grant teams up with Eric Atkins to give Notre Dame a very strong backcourt. Forward Scott Martin has been instrumental to the team's overall success this season as well. The Fighting Irish hold a 15-3 lead in the all-time series with Xavier. The last time these programs met was when Notre Dame defeated the Musketeers, 83-71, in an opening-round matchup in the 2001 NCAA Tournament.
Free Pick: Xavier just hasn't been the same team they were at the start of the year after that brawl vs Cincinnati. Xavier does come in winners in 3 of their last 4 games, but since the brawl they have gon just 13-12 overall after an 8-0 start. Xavier did beat St Louis in the A-10 Tourney, but they really looked lethargic in beating Dayton by 1 point and in the loss to St Bonaventure. Xavier finished the regular season with a 10-6 mark in the mediocre Atlantic 10, while the Irish had a fine year in the Big East, going 13-5 in the regular season and while they did go just 2-3 down the stretch they are still the team that won 9 Big East games in a row and with the extra prep time Mike brey will have his team focused and ready to go here. Irish by 7+ here.
Free Picks: St. Bonaventure vs Florida State Bettinghttp://PregameVideos.com - Florida State is ripe for a let down spot and St. Bonaventure is peaking at the right time plus other factors college football bettors need to know about St. Bonaventure vs Florida State (Friday, March 16, 2012) from Pregame.com - Including predictions from Vegas Runner and analysis from host Marco D'Angelo.