North Dakota State at Xavier will not be captivating, but we’re in it for the money.
North Dakota State at Xavier at the Cintas Center has a very likely outcome, but what may be more certain is a different matter. North Dakota State comes to Xavier with a 5-2 record and Xavier is still undefeated at 6-0.
About North Dakota State
They are the most painful team to watch in College Basketball. They run the three man weave to a point where it is nauseating to watch. It’s a frustrating style of play to watch and it slows the game down considerably. NDSU slows down their opponents too and it makes for less possessions in the game. NDSU has an adjusted tempo of 66 possessions per game (319th in the country). Last season, the Bison were 324th in the country in adjusted tempo.
North Dakota has not faced great competition thus far and they are facing a Big East Championship contender in Xavier, which will be their toughest test.
Against rather weak competition, they have had trouble scoring and have had a poor assist-to-turnover ratio. They also have held opponents to poor scoring nights and force turnovers of their own against the opposition.
North Dakota State chokes the life out of the ball. This is game where both teams will not shoot over 105 shots total, if NDSU has their way. Often their games against Division I opponents are brick fests from the Free Throw Line and three point arc.
NDSU forces turnovers and commits a good number of turnovers. The per play metrics are rough, but they do reflect how few possessions these Bison play each game.
This team does not have any real distributors and it is a function of their offense. Dexter Werner is the defensive ace of this team. Paul Miller often does try to do too much from three point range and he would be advised to stop, but he won’t.
Xavier likes to play 1-3-1 Zone with some man-to-man sprinkled in there. Against North Dakota State, a zone defense could create very long possessions for the Bison that result in horrible shots.
Xavier took on Northern Iowa twice and were slowed down considerably. They were accustomed to facing faster teams and Clemson played much faster than usual against Xavier at Walt Disney World. Xavier was only able to get out into transition for a shot 17.9% of the time.
To beat the 1-3-1 Zone, ball movement is necessary and it helps explain why opponents need a higher number of assists per game.
Xavier and North Dakota State are in the upper quartile of the country in keeping opponents away from the restricted arc. They are both in the upper third in keeping opponents out of transition opportunities.
Xavier is cold from three point range this season and they are not particularly deep, playing only eight. J.P. Macura and Edmond Sumner are having a big season on defense.
Xavier is strong on defense against shots inside the perimeter, which is where North Dakota State is strong.
Xavier can get steals and force turnovers with that 1-3-1 Zone Defense, they also commit a good number of turnovers too. They commit a lot of personal fouls for a team that runs 1-3-1 Zone Defense, but they also draw fouls too.
North Dakota State at Xavier Pick and Prediction
Xavier’s Defense is going to slow down North Dakota State even further than they slow themselves down and NDSU is good enough defensively to keep Xavier from shooting hot or getting many easy baskets. This game is going to be ugly, slow-paced and it will thankfully for the audience go by very fast.
North Dakota State is very capable of slowing down Xavier and Xavier is very capable slowing down everyone. Both teams are not exactly great from three point range and the fouls committed should be lower than a typical Xavier game. This will not be close, but it will not be a barnburner at all.
Prediction: Xavier 71 North Dakota State 51 (Pick UNDER 134)
Pick of the Day is 11-7 on the season after getting humiliated by Manhattan’s embarrassing loss to WVU.