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Holy Cross Crusaders vs. Southern Jaguars Predictions, Picks, Odds and Betting Preview – NCAA March Madness First Four – March 16, 2016

Holy Cross Crusaders vs. Southern Jaguars Predictions, Picks, Odds and Betting Preview – NCAA March Madness First Four – March 16, 2016

The 2016 NCAA Tournament hasn’t officially gotten underway yet, but it already has a Cinderella story. The Holy Cross Crusaders defied the odds as they won the Patriot League tournament in stunning fashion. However, they still need to prove they truly belong in the Big Dance as they face the SWAC champion Southern Jaguars in the First Four play-in game in the West Region.

Get a complete breakdown of this First Four matchup with our preview below. Meanwhile, check out Wednesday’s other First Four game, Michigan vs. Tulsa.

March Madness News & Predictions

March Madness No. 16 Holy Cross vs. No. 16 Southern Preview

Where: University of Dayton Arena, Dayton

When: Wednesday, March 16, 6:40 PM ET

Line: Holy Cross Crusaders (+2) vs. Southern Jaguars (-2); total 129.5view all NCAA Basketball lines

TV Broadcast: truTV

Betting on the Holy Cross Crusaders

Despite going just 10-19 in the regular season and 5-13 in conference play, the Holy Cross Crusaders miraculously conspired to win four games in a row to claim the Pat League tournament title as a No. 9 seed.


Junior Malachi Alexander just went bonkers in the tournament. He averaged 20.8 points and 7.5 rebounds while shooting 56 percent from the field and 14-of-23 from three en route to a deserved MVP award. That’s quite a step up from the 12 points, 5.5 rebounds and 48 FG% he averaged during the regular season.

Alexander’s offensive explosion made a huge difference for the offensively-challenged Crusaders, whose 65.3 points per game ranked a lowly 325nd in the country. However, don’t think the Crusaders live and die with Alexander. Their biggest win in their tournament run – a 60-38 annihilation of Army – coincided with Alexander scoring just 13 points.

Holy Cross’s defense is serviceable – it gave up 69.7 points, 120th in scoring defense – and it’s not as if the Southern Jaguars are much stronger competition than the ones the Crusaders beat en route to the conference crown. Also, don’t forget about the positive momentum Holy Cross should still have after its remarkable run in the conference tournament.

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Betting on the Southern Jaguars

Holy Cross vs Southern Predictions - March Madness 2016

Not to be outdone, the Southern Jaguars pulled off their own upset as they claimed the SWAC title as a No. 4 seed that finished 11-7 in conference play. The Jags put up 80-plus points in the first two tournament games before winning a 54-53 nail-biter against Jackson State in the final.

Leading scorer Adrian Rodgers (16.6 PPG) shot just 4-of-22 (18 percent) in the last two games, but Trelun Banks picked up the slack with 19 points in each of those two games. Southern’s ability to call on two go-to guys on offense should give them an edge against a Holy Cross team that has the tendency to become a bit too reliant on a single player on offense.

The Jags should have the ability to push the pace offensively and force the plodding Crusaders from their comfort zone. For one, the Jags can force turnovers (they ranked 51st in the country in steals), which can lead to good transition looks.

They should also have opportunities to get out on the break against a Holy Cross team that takes and misses a lot of threes and struggles mightily on the glass. The Crusaders finished 345th out of 351 teams in rebounds per game.

Writer’s Prediction

Southern (-2) ends Holy Cross’s Cinderella run with a 67-61 win.




Written by Brad

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