Texas Southern, Indiana Favored In First Four Matchups

  • In the first play-in game for 2022’s March Madness, the Texas Southern Tigers (-170 moneyline odds) will face off against the Texas A&M Corpus Christi Islanders (+145 moneyline odds).
  • The second play-in game on Tuesday will feature the Indiana Hoosiers (-180 moneyline odds) taking on the Wyoming Cowboys (+155 moneyline odds).

DAYTON, Ohio - March has arrived, and before the main portion of March Madness gets underway, sports bettors will have two pairs of play-in games - often referred to as the “First Four” - to satiate their college basketball appetite.

The first two of these matchups will take place Tuesday, with the remaining two being played on Wednesday.

(16) Texas A&M Corpus Christi Islanders Vs. (16) Texas Southern Tigers Betting Odds

  • Texas A&M-CC +145
  • Texas Southern -170
  • Texas A&M-CC +3.5 (-105)
  • Texas Southern -3.5 (-115)
  • Over 136.5 (-105)
  • Under 136.5 (-115)

The first of the “First Four” March Madness betting matchups will be a battle for the 16 seed in the Midwest region between the Texas A&M Corpus Christi Islanders and the Texas Southern Tigers.

Can The Islanders’ Frontcourt Carry Them?

The Texas A&M-CC Islanders (23-11) are riding a wave of momentum after winning the Southland Conference tournament.

Offensively, the Islanders have relied on offensive rebounding and free-throw shooting. Their frontcourt tandem of Isaac Mushila (9.5 rebounds/game) and De’Lazarus Keys (6.1 rebounds/game) gather offensive rebounds at the 16th-best rate in the nation,

Meanwhile, nearly a quarter of the Islanders’ points came from the foul line (good for the third-highest rate in the nation), and the team as a whole shoots 74.4% from the charity stripe. Mushila also leads the team in PPG with 13.5.

The biggest knock on the Islanders is that - despite their offensive rebounding prowess - they are quite undersized. Even with their lack of size, the defense was able to force turnovers at the 18th-best rate in the country.

For the Islanders to advance through the play-in and cash on their (+145) betting odds, they will have to get Texas Southern into foul trouble and earn plenty of chances at the charity stripe, as well as convert on their second-chance points after their trademark offensive rebounds.

Texas Southern Looks To Continue Hot Streak

Texas Southern’s (18-12) season began disastrously, losing each of their first seven games of the regular season. However, a 69-54 victory over the Florida Gators turned their season around in a huge way.

After that game, the Tigers went 17-5 en route to a SWAC championship - this is even more impressive considering their non-conference slate, which was the ninth-toughest in the NCAA.

Texas Southern relied on their defense during that hot streak. The Tigers held opponents to the 13th-worst field goal percentage in college basketball.

On the other side of the ball, however, the Tigers have struggled somewhat. No player averages double-digit points per game, with the leading scorer - John Walker III - averaging 9.9 PPG.

Texas Southern has overcome their lack of offensive star power by utilizing one of the deepest benches in college basketball: no team accumulated more bench minutes in 2022 than Texas Southern.

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(12) Indiana Hoosiers Vs. (12) Wyoming Cowboys Betting Odds

  • Indiana Hoosiers -180
  • Wyoming Cowboys +155
  • Indiana Hoosiers -4 (-115)
  • Wyoming Cowboys +4 (-105)
  • Over 132.5 (-110)
  • Under 132.5 (-110)

The second of the “First Four” matchups will feature the Indiana Hoosiers and Wyoming Cowboys battling it out for the 12 seed in the East region.

Both teams were similar against the spread on the season, with Indiana going 16-14 ATS and Wyoming going 16-11-3 ATS. Wyoming has also covered the spread in eight of their 12 games in which they were the underdog.

Trayce Jackson-Davis Looks To Carry Hoosiers Through Tournament Run

Much of Indiana’s success in 2022 (20-13) can be attributed to forward Trayce Jackson-Davis. Jackson-Davis led the Hoosiers in points per game (18.1), rebounds per game (8.2), blocks per game (2.4), and field goal percentage (58.9%) while also ranking third in assists per game (1.9).

Jackson-Davis is clearly the Hoosiers’ focal point on both sides of the ball; however, guard Xavier Johnson elevated his play in the conference tournament, surpassing his season average in points per game (12.3). Johnson is also Indiana’s top passer, averaging 5 assists per game.

For the Hoosiers to win the play-in game and make a deeper run into the tournament, they will need to continue to get elevated performances from Johnson.

On the defensive side of the ball, Indiana does not allow many easy buckets, allowing the seventh-lowest two-point field goal percentage to opponents in 2022. They will need to continue to be tough in the paint in order to contain Wyoming’s offense and convert on their (-180) betting odds.

Versatile Wyoming Looks To Upset Blue-Blood Hoosiers

Wyoming will enter the matchup with Indiana full of confidence. Their play-in bid marks their first tournament appearance since 2015 - a spot well-earned considering their 25 wins was a program best since 1952.

Offensively, the Cowboys rely on guard Hunter Maldonado and forward Graham Ike. Maldonado was one of the most well-rounded players in the nation in 2022, contributing with scoring (18.4 PPG), passing (6.3 APG), rebounding (5.8 RPG), and defense (1.2 SPG).

Ike has been a force inside, averaging a team-leading 19.6 PPG and 9.6 RPG. Guard Drake Jeffries has shot an impressive 42% from beyond the arc en route to 10.5 points and 5.3 rebounds per game.

Defensively, Wyoming has been very good. They are a long, versatile team on defense, and they rank 32nd in the NCAA in opponent 3P% and 51st in opponent field goal percentage. For Wyoming to win, however, they will need to contain Trayce Jackson-Davis.

March is all about matchups - and this is a good one for Wyoming. While Indiana surely has the talent to win, Wyoming has the right attributes - solid defense, size, good rebounding, and a superior offense - to take down the favored Hoosiers and advance to the Round of 64; this provides bettors with incredible value at the (+155) moneyline odds currently being offered at most online sportsbooks.