March Madness Previews, Picks, and Predictions for Tuesday, March 15

March Madness Previews, Picks, and Predictions for Tuesday, March 15
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We break down the March Madness First Four round and give you betting advice on tonight’s games.

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(16) Texas A&M-Corpus Christie vs. (16) Texas Southern

  • First Four Game 1
  • University of Dayton Arena, Dayton, Ohio
  • 6:40 p.m. ET

The winner of this “Play-In” game is rewarded with a date against No. 1-seed Kansas in the Midwest Region.

My research and projections from the predictive models point to Texas A&M-Corpus Christi, the Southland Conference champs. This is the Islanders’ first tournament appearance since 2007.

Who is Islanders head coach Steve Lutz?

The Islanders’ success this season has been led by first-year coach Steve Lutz, who spent the previous four seasons as an assistant at Purdue. This is his first head coaching job.

Lutz’s team was 23-11 straight-up and 20-10 against the spread, a year removed from a 5-19 record last season. In the Southland Conference they went 20-11 straight-up and 17-10 against the spread this season.

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The Islanders averaged 77.3 points per game, ranking 41 in the nation and fifth in the eight-team Southland Conference.

Isaac Mushila was the top rebounder in the Southland, with 322. He is a great offensive rebounder and gathered up a conference-high 123 offensive.

Is the Wrong Team Favored?

Texas Southern comes in as a 3.5-point favorite. But what do the numbers say?

The Islanders are the better ball handling team in this matchup. They rank 216 nationally with a 0.942 assist-to-turnover ratio vs. a Southern squad that has 0.72 assist-to-turnover ratio, ranking 345 of the 358 Division-I programs.

Texas A&M-Corpus Christie plays disciplined defense and rank 29 with a 0.72 defensive assist to turnover ratio.

The Islanders are 10-3 ATS when facing teams that average 14 or fewer forced turnovers per game. They are 7-1 ATS away from home following two or more consecutive wins and 7-0 ATS when facing teams that are averaging six or fewer steals per game this season.

I am going to the window and grabbing the points with Texas A&M-Corpus Christie.

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(12) Indiana vs. (12) Wyoming

  • First Four Game 2
  • University of Dayton Arena, Dayton, Ohio
  • 9:10 p.m. ET

The winner of this game between the Indiana and Wyoming will get No. 5 seed St. Mary’s in the first round.

This is intriguing because it involves the No. 12 vs. No. 5-seed matchup, and the winner will undoubtedly be hyped in the game against St. Mary’s. If the Hoosiers win, they will be installed as a 1.5 to 2.5-point underdog against St. Mary’s. If Wyoming wins, it will be a 5.5-point .

The market for this matchup opened with the Wyoming a 4-point underdog and it has not changed despite 61% of the action being on the Hoosiers.

The total for this game opened at 133.5 points and the Under bets have been a popular choice by the betting community and the line has shifted lower to a current price of 132.5 points.

The Matchup

Indiana went 20-13 straight-up and 19-14 against the spread and Wyoming was 25-8 straight-up and 13-17-2 against the spread.

The individual matchup to watch is between two bigs: Indiana’s 6-foot-9 power forward Trayce Jackson-Davis, who is averaging 18.1 points per game, against Wyoming’s Graham Ike (pronounced ee-kay), who is averaging 19.6 points.

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Wyoming always is in a grinding possession-by-possession mode — similar to the Big 10 style that Indiana is familiar with — and will look to get the ball to Ike often.

What The Trends and Angles say

Indiana has the better depth and will gradually wear down Wyoming.

Indiana is 20-9 against the spread when facing a team that averages 17 or fewer called fouls per game over the past two seasons.

The Hoosiers are 8-1 against the spread after game number 15 of the regular seasons and taking on a foe that averages three or fewer fouls called per game than their respective opponents in games played over the last three seasons.

I am leaning Indiana minus the points in this one.

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