NCAA March Madness: Texas Southern vs. Fairleigh Dickinson First Four betting preview, odds and predictions

By VSiN Staff  ( 

March 15, 2023 02:07 PM

NCAA March Madness: Texas Southern Tigers vs. Fairleigh Dickinson Knights betting preview, odds and predictions

In a First Four matchup in the East region of the NCAA Tournament, the Texas Southern Tigers take on the Fairleigh Dickinson Knights to find out who will face the top-seeded Purdue Boilermakers on Friday, March 17th. All tournament long, VSiN will be providing you with March Madness betting odds, in-depth team analysis and expert college basketball picks. Make us your one-stop shop for all of your betting needs. 

MORE: Check out the public betting splits for every college basketball game on the VSiN betting splits page

How to watch Texas Southern vs. Fairleigh Dickinson

When: Wednesday, 6:40 p.m. ET

Where: Dayton, Ohio

Watch: truTV

Odds for Texas Southern vs. Fairleigh Dickinson

Spread: Texas Southern -2.5

Total: 146.5 

(Odds accurate as of Sunday, March 12th at 11:00 p.m. ET)

Real-time betting splits at DraftKings Sportsbook

East Region No. 16 Seed Texas Southern Tigers

Texas Southern is dancing after a year in which the team was six games under the .500 mark. The Tigers were able to do the improbable by winning the SWAC Tournament. They were listed at +1300 to do so entering the week, with five teams in the conference above them. The Tigers are one of the worst teams in all of college basketball when it comes to offensive efficiency, and they were rather mediocre on the defensive end, too. The one thing that can save this team is PJ Henry’s ability to get hot. The guard was the reason the Tigers were able to win the conference tournament.

East Region No. 16 Seed Fairleigh Dickinson Knights

The Knights didn’t even win their own conference tournament, as they lost a 67-66 final to the Merrimack College Warriors. However, Merrimack is ineligible to play in the postseason, so Fairleigh Dickinson got the nod just for reaching the Northeast Conference Tournament final. The Knights had a pedestrian regular-season record and only two teams in the entire nation had a worse adjusted defensive efficiency this season. That means that Fairleigh Dickinson will have to work extremely hard just to earn the right to face Purdue. 

Texas Southern vs. Fairleigh Dickinson Matchup Analysis

Johnny Jones and his Texas Southern Tigers are back in Dayton after emerging victorious from the 16 vs. 16 play-in game over Texas A&M-Corpus Christi last year. The Tigers waited until the right time to play their best ball of the season with a SWAC Tournament title, but this was also arguably the most talented team in the conference all season long.

It never showed up in the results, as the Tigers were 7-11 in conference play during the regular season, but all it takes is putting it together at the right time. Texas Southern won with defense, holding their three conference tournament opponents to .889, .914 and .838 points per possession. The offense still wasn’t very good and probably won’t be in this game either, but the Tigers held Alcorn State, Alabama State and Grambling State to 62 or fewer points.

That might have to be the target here, despite the high total on this game. Texas Southern comes in having shot just 28.7% from 3 and 47.4% on 2s. On the plus side, Fairleigh Dickinson is one of the worst defensive teams in the nation. If not for a high TO% on defense of 21.4%, they would be dead last. Instead, they’re just the second-worst by adjusted defensive efficiency per Bart Torvik and third-worst by Ken Pomeroy. However, those turnovers could make the difference here against a Texas Southern team that turned it over more than 20% of the time.

By Torvik’s rankings, Texas Southern (282nd) will be the best team that Fairleigh Dickinson has faced since Dec. 22 in an 82-73 loss to Queens, which just became a Division I program this season. The Knights rank dead last in strength of schedule per Torvik and 361st per KenPom. Texas Southern may be a flawed team, but there is a huge strength-of-schedule discrepancy here — and also a size discrepancy.

The two best players for the Knights, Grant Singleton and Demetre Roberts, are just 5-foot-9 and 5-foot-8, respectively. Texas Southern should advance out of Dayton with a victory here.

MORE: College basketball best bets from VSiN hosts and analysts

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