The Pittsburgh Panthers (24-11) and the Xavier Musketeers (26-9) will face off in the Round of 32 on Sunday. Pittsburgh needed a narrow 60-59 win over Mississippi State in the play-in game to solidify their spot in the Round of 64 but embarrassed Iowa State 59-41 on Friday. A usually suspect Panthers defense held ISU to 23% shooting on an incredible 60 shots. Meanwhile, Xavier survived an absolute scare against Kennesaw State 72-67 to advance to Sunday’s clash. The Musketeers trailed by double-digits midway through the second half but rallied from behind to stave off elimination.
Pitt vs. Xavier: Betting Odds
Odds are courtesy of DraftKings Sportsbook
Fixture: Pitt Panthers vs. Xavier Musketeers (Neutral)
Date and Time: Sunday, March 19, 2023, 12:20 p.m. ET
Venue: Greensboro Coliseum
ShotQuality Tale of the Tape
Below, we will highlight essential ShotQuality data for this matchup, including Adjusted Offensive and Defensive SQ, strengths, weaknesses, and frequency. SQppp is a player’s average ShotQuality points per possession.
Thus, SQppp = Total SQpoints/Total No. of Possessions.
The Pitt Panthers own a 1.11 AdjOFF SQ this season, good for 57th in the nation. Xavier has the 45th-best AdjDEF SQ at 0.96. Pitt does well in all key stats but the open three rate metric, placing 245h in the country. Conversely, the Musketeers are 175th in the defensive open three rate metric. However, Pitt will have a sizable advantage in offensive spacing and shot-making.
The Panthers own high-frequency numbers in catch-and-shoot three-point, isolation, midrange, off-the-dribble three-point, off-screen, P&R, and transition shot types. They do well in most shot types except transition, with a 1.24 SQ PPP (185th in the country), and isolation, with a 0.92 SQ PPP (191st in the country). Conversely, the Musketeers will have the advantage in the transition but struggle in the defensive midrange and perimeter.
The Musketeers have a 1.13 AdjOFF SQ, the 36th-best mark in the country. Pitt has posted a 1.01 AdjDEF SQ this season, clocking in at 147th in the country. The Musketeers are in the top 90 in shot-making and rim & three SQ PPP. The Panthers are just outside the top 105 in those two defensive categories but will be significantly disadvantaged in defensive spacing and shot-making.
Xavier is in the country’s top half in frequency regarding these shot types: cut, finishing at the rim, off-screen, P&R, and post-up. As a result, the Musketeers’ offense will have a significant edge in the post-up and off-screen.
Pitt vs. Xavier: Prediction
I’m not going to overthink this one much. Pitt is about to play three games in six days, and Xavier is short-handed after the season-ending injury to star Zach Freemantle. Unders have been hitting relatively easy this March Madness, and this one is set too high for two teams that should have tired legs. The ShotQuality model likes it, giving me enough confirmation bias to ride with the under on the total.