The 2022 NCAA tournament is finally here, and the action continues Wednesday night in Dayton, Ohio with the First Four.
Here are the best bets for tonight's matchups between 11-seeds Rutgers and Wyoming and 16-seeds Wright State and Bryant, from William Hill and Greg Peterson.
All times Eastern.
No. 16 Wright State Raiders (-1.5, 153) vs. No. 16 Bryant Bulldogs
Hill: Bryant is making its first-ever NCAA tournament appearance after spending much of its existence in the Division II ranks. The Bulldogs hope to make their visit more than just a one-day trip, and have a good chance to do so against a Wright State team that improbably rallied from 16 points down with under 12 minutes to play in their conference tournament final. According to Synergy, the Raiders are in the 18th percentile on offense when facing a zone defense, a look that Bryant coach Jared Grasso will deploy plenty of in this matchup.
While Wright State snuck into this game by overcoming a huge deficit and winning on a shot in the final seconds, Bryant took a more comfortable path, winning 70-43 against Wagner in the NEC finals, a game they led 36-5. The Bulldogs bring to the tournament the nation’s leading scorer in Peter Kiss, who averages over 25 PPG, while fellow guard Charles Pride also scores 18 a night. Expect this electric backcourt duo to carry Bryant against what KenPom has ranked as one of the country’s worst defenses, and make the school’s NCAA debut a successful one.
Pick: Bryant + 2
No. 11 Rutgers Scarlet Knights vs. No. 11 Notre Dame Fighting Irish (-1, 132)
Peterson: Both of these teams have defensive deficiencies: Rutgers allows 16.3 points per 100 possessions more when away from home, while Notre Dame ranks 163rd in points allowed on a per possession basis with 11 more points allowed per 100 possessions in a road or neutral court environment.
The Fighting Irish also don’t give themselves second chances, ranking 330th out of 358 Division I teams in percentage of missed shots in which they rebound; their 17.7% road and neutral court rebound rate is 345th nationally.
Rutgers will look to get the ball inside the arc on a Notre Dame defense that is 179th in the country in opponent two-point shooting percentage with Ron Harper Jr. and Cliff Omoruyi combining for 27.4 points and 13.8 rebounds per game.
Pick: Rutgers ML