Best bets for Tuesday's First Four games

By VSiN Staff  (VSiN.com) 

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The 2022 NCAA tournament is finally here, and the action begins Tuesday night in Dayton, Ohio with the First Four.

Here are the best bets for tonight's matchups between 12-seeds Indiana-Wyoming and 16-seeds Texas A&M-Corpus Christi and Texas Southern, from Adam Burke, William Hill and Wes Reynolds.

All times Eastern.

No. 16 Texas A&M-Corpus Christi Islanders vs. No. 16 Texas Southern Tigers (-3.5, 136)

6:40 p.m.

Burke: Tuesday’s play-in game in Dayton between Texas Southern and Texas A&M Corpus Christi features one team that has been in that situation and one that has not. The Tigers just went to Dayton last year and knocked off Mount St. Mary’s 60-52. They were also there in 2018 and beat NC Central 64-46. The personnel is a little different, and coach Johnny Jones was only there for last year’s game, but there is more familiarity for the Tigers.

The Islanders are a great story and first-year coach Steve Lutz did an excellent job building a roster full of JUCO transfers, but this is a Texas A&M CC team that was 7-7 in Southland play before going on a conference tournament run. Texas Southern plays in a bad SWAC conference, but still had a strength of schedule that was 40 spots higher than Texas A&M CC because of a strong nonconference slate that included Oregon, Saint Mary’s, Washington, NC State, BYU, Louisiana Tech and Florida. The Tigers held non-conference foes under 30% from 3. This defense is legit and it will show on Tuesday.

Pick: Texas Southern -3.5

No. 12 Indiana Hoosiers (-4, 132.5) vs. No. 12 Wyoming Cowboys

9:10 p.m.

Reynolds: The Hoosiers thought they did enough to avoid an extra trip to Dayton, but they were one of the last two at-large teams in the field largely due to a soft nonconference strength of schedule, and the selection committee obviously not putting very much weight into their Big Ten tourney performance. 

While IU has been good defensively, especially in transition, all season (No. 1 in the Big Ten for defensive efficiency), it has been the play of Xavier Johnson (14-for-28 from 3 and 18.4 PPG in last seven games), and Trayce Jackson-Davis stepping up when his team needed him most (76 points in three Big Ten tournament games on 34-for-51 from the field).

Jackson-Davis proved that he could finish against length vs. Michigan’s Hunter Dickinson and Moussa Diabate, plus Illinois’ Kofi Cockburn. He will get an undersized, but long-armed Graham Ike from Wyoming in this matchup. No team in the nation has a higher post rate than the Cowboys with Ike and 6-7 point guard Hunter Maldonado. The Cowboys actually resemble a lot of Big Ten teams with their offense, so Indiana should be prepared and have the personnel (Jackson-Davis, Race Thompson, etc.) to defend, but does Wyoming have anyone to stay in front of Xavier Johnson? I don’t believe so.

Pick: Indiana -170 ML

Hill: Both of these teams survived Selection Sunday, as Indiana’s two wins over Michigan and Illinois in the Big Ten Tournament pushed the Hoosiers across the finish line, while Wyoming rallying to beat UNLV in the Mountain West tourney quarterfinal was enough to get them the nod from the committee. look for a bit of a rock fight in this one. Indiana defends at an elite level (21st in KenPom adjusted defensive efficiency) but simply struggles to shoot from the outside, shooting just under 34% from behind the arc on the season. 

The Hoosiers take on a Cowboys team that relies heavily on the outstanding duo of Ike and Maldonado, but neither player even flirts with shooting 30% from behind the arc. Wyoming is a post-reliant team – couple that with IU’s ability to defend at a high level and inability to knock down outside shots, throw in the stakes of the game plus an unfamiliar gym and sight line for shooters and you have all the making of an ugly, low- scoring slugfest. Barring a late parade to the foul line, this should stay under.

Pick: Under 132.5

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