Buzz Williams has this Texas A&M Aggies team playing with a chip on its shoulder. After being snubbed by the NCAA Tournament selection committee despite playing its best basketball to end the season, the Aggies have gone scorched earth mode in the NIT.
The Aggies have won 11 of their past 12 games and face off with the Xavier Musketeers in the NIT Championship game.
Check out our Xavier vs. Texas A&M college basketball picks and predictions for the NIT Final on Thursday, March 31 to find out.
Xavier vs Texas A&M odds
This odds widget represents the best odds available for each betting market from regulated sportsbooks.
Texas A&M opened -4.5, where the line still currently resides across most books as of Thursday morning. There are a few -4’s available, so we recommend grabbing them if looking to back the Aggies. The total took some money to the Under, moving from 138.5 at open to 137.5 at current.
Xavier vs Texas A&M predictions
Predictions made on 3/31/2022 at 8:15 a.m. ET.
Click on each prediction to jump to the full analysis.
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Xavier vs Texas A&M game info
• Location: Madison Square Garden, New York, NY
• Date: Thursday, March 31, 2022
• Tip-off: 7:00 p.m. ET
• TV: ESPN
Xavier vs Texas A&M betting preview
Xavier: Paul Scruggs G (Out).
Texas A&M: Marcus Williams G (Questionable).
Find our latest NCAA basketball injury reports.
Betting trend to know
The Aggies are 10-2 ATS in their last 12 games overall. Find more NCAAB betting trends for Xavier vs Texas A&M. Find more NCAA betting trends for Xavier vs. Texas A&M.
Xavier vs Texas A&M picks and predictions
Our side and total predictions are based upon our analysis of the line and total in this game. Our best bet is our favorite pick across all markets.
Both teams arrive at the NIT Final with a similar narrative surrounding the team: they got hot at the right time and are playing their best basketball of the season.
Xavier looked great to begin the season before collapsing in Big East play. The Musketeers went 6-11 to end conference play, but have rebounded with a strong showing in the NIT. Similarly, Texas A&M started the year with a 15-2 record before falling off a cliff in SEC play, losing nine of 10 at one point in conference play before completely turning the season around to end the year.
Texas A&M has won 11 of its last 12 games, with the only loss coming to Tennessee in the SEC Tournament final. Not only are the Aggies winning, but they’re doing so impressively, covering the spread in 10 of their 12 games during this hot streak. Notable victories in SEC play include Florida, Auburn, and Arkansas.
Buzz Williams’ squad thrives on the defensive end of the floor, where they rank 27th in KenPom’s adjusted defensive efficiency. They play a deep rotation and bring relentless pressure for a full 40 minutes. The defense is playing as well as it has all season, keeping opponents from scoring over 65 points in each of its last seven games despite playing tough competition in meaningful games.
The NIT has been a cakewalk for the Aggies, who’ve won every game by double-digits. They don’t score well in some metrics, most notably ranking 337th nationally in defensive rebounding rate, but that simply hasn’t mattered as of late.
Lumbering bigs like Xavier’s Jack Nunge can typically be neutralized by A&M’s guard-dominant attack. The Aggies usually play only one rotation player who stands above 6’5” (Henry Coleman, a 6’7” Duke transfer), but they use their speed and quickness to fluster opponents. Washington State has three bigs that offered athleticism and versatility to seemingly hang with Texas A&M, but it ultimately didn’t matter in an easy 72-56 Aggies win in the semifinal.
Quenton Jackson leads the way with 14.6 points per game, while Coleman (11.1) and Radford (10.7) are the other players to average double-digits for the Aggies.
Texas A&M is simply too hot and we don’t see them losing. Xavier has won a few close matchups in the NIT to advance, but they’re playing under an interim coach and lost lead guard and fifth-year senior Paul Scruggs to injury in the second round of the tournament.
Prediction: Texas A&M -4 (-110 at DraftKings)
Xavier is 7-1 to the Over in its last eight neutral-site games but is 9-4 to the Over in its last 12 overall. Texas A&M, meanwhile, is 5-0 to the Under in its last five games overall.
We’ve alluded to the Aggies’ solid defense previously. They don’t necessarily look to speed things up, either, ranking 199th in KenPom’s adjusted tempo metric. They allow 66.7 points per game while holding opponents to 42.3% from the field.
Xavier isn’t as stout defensively. Despite surrendering only 68.6 points per game, the Musketeers rank 79th in KenPom’s adjusted defensive efficiency.
Xavier usually likes to speed up the pace of play, ranking 97th in adjusted tempo, per KenPom. That being said, the Musketeers likely don’t want to quicken the tempo too much in this matchup against A&M’s relentless ball pressure— the Aggies force the eighth-highest turnover rate in the country. Xavier is Top 50 at taking care of the ball and maintaining that low turnover rate would be crucial for Jonas Hayes’ side from a game-planning perspective. Playing at a slower pace than normal is to be expected if the Musketeers wish to take care of the ball against this stingy and aggressive A&M defense.
This is a championship game, after all, and it’d be natural for both teams to be a tad skittish.
All signs point to the Under.
Prediction: Under 137.5 (-110 at DraftKings)
Texas A&M is about as red hot as a team can get.
Buzz Williams’ bunch has been laying waste to the competition in the NIT, and we expect another solid win in the final game over Xavier. Each of the last five NIT Championship games have been decided by double-digits, with last year’s 13-point victory by Memphis over Mississippi State being the closest margin.
We like the Aggies to take care of business yet again Thursday night.
Pick: Texas A&M -4 (-110 at DraftKings)
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