First Four Day One March Madness Preview

First Four Day One March Madness Preview

Drew Thirion
1 year ago
2 min read
Indiana practices at UD Arena ahead of the First Four matchup with Wyoming tonight.

I have a love/hate relationship with the first four. On one hand, more basketball is awesome. On the other hand, making 16 seeds have to fight their way into the tournament makes no sense. If you win your conference tournament, you should have an auto-bid into the field of 64. Play-in games should be left for power programs fighting for a final spot in the tournament. For now, that’s not the case, so here’s a breakdown of tonight's games.

#16 Texas A&M Corpus Christi vs #16 Texas Southern (-4) O/U 143

Texas Southern has one of the hardest out-of-conference schedules year after year. They started the season 0-7, facing teams that were much more talented than them, but they did pull off a nice upset over Florida. Corpus Cristi had one of the easiest schedules in the country and did not face elite talent over the season as the Tigers have.

When you’re trying to pick teams in March Madness, single-digit spreads tend to have less of an impact on games. If you think a team is going to cover, it’s a safe bet to predict them to win. Texas Southern is just the better team, and I love them to cover in this one. Both of these teams have adjusted offenses outside the top 250, so expect this game to be a bit of a slogfest. The under feels like a very safe play tonight as well.

#12 Indiana (-4) vs Wyoming O/U 132.5

The Hoosiers got hot at the right time to steal a spot in the tournament. Led by Trayce Jackson-Davis, Indiana can hang with anyone in this tournament. For Wyoming, they’re led by the one-two combo of Graham Ike and Hunter Maldonado. Those two can fill up a score sheet and can take over games late. Neither is a much of a three-point threat, and that concerns me some. Indiana’s interior defense is very solid, ranking 21st in the country according to KenPom. I feel they might cause scoring issues for Wyoming.

Indiana feels like the safe play tonight. I think the difference between these two offenses is marginal, and Indiana’s defense is significantly better, so I believe the Hoosiers will cover and the game will go under. If Indiana doesn’t rush their offense and works through TJD, they will have no problem tonight, and could even pull off a first-round upset over a stingy St. Mary’s defense. 

Those are my plays for tonight, check in tomorrow for my day two picks!

Be sure to follow betJACK on Instagram for all the latest during the NCAA Tournament!

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