March Madness First Four: Game Details & Betting Predictions
March Madness starts on Thursday the 17th, but we get a little amuse bouche on Tuesday and Wednesday with the First Four. Two games on Tuesday and two on Wednesday will decide the final four slots in the 64-team field. Read on for our betting predictions, what to expect from this exciting quartet of games to get you ready to go for Thursday, and make sure to head to MyBookie.ag ASAP to fill out your bracket!
#16 Texas A&M Corpus Christie vs. #16 Texas Southern – March 15th, 6:40 pm EST
The very first game of the 2022 tournament features two teams coming into the First Four playing some of the best basketball of their season. Texas Southern just recently won the Southwestern Atlantic Conference’s championship, and the Islanders won the Southland Title Game. Neither of these teams is going anywhere once they get into the tournament proper, but considering the strength of schedule disparity between the two (9th in Div. 1 for Southern and 349th for A&M-CC according to KenPom) we’re taking the Texas Southern Tigers to earn the berth on Tuesday night as -165 odds favorites.
#12 Indiana vs. #12 Wyoming – March 15th, 9:10 pm EST
While it will always be surprising to see a historical basketball powerhouse like Indiana in the First Four, we can’t really say the same for their opponents on Tuesday night. Wyoming is trying to make just their third appearance in the big dance since 1989, and they’ve had a rough go of it lately after a sparkling 12-1 run from December to February. They’re 4-5 in their last nine while the Hoosiers have really picked it up over the last couple of weeks, falling a Jordan Bohannon last-second heave away from the Big Ten Tournament Final after notching back-to-back upset wins on back-to-back days. Mike Woodson’s team could actually win a game if they get into the tournament, so we’re taking the Indiana Hoosiers to win on Tuesday and book a date with St. Mary’s as the -170 favorites.
#16 Wright State vs. #16 Bryant – March 16th, 6:40 pm EST
In this matchup of bottom seeds Wright State are the favorites, but with the way Bryant has played leading into the First Four, we’re loving the value on the underdogs here. The Bulldogs have won 16 of their last 17, including a 27-point shellacking of Wagner in the Northeast Conference Championship Game. We like Bryant to win this one straight up as +150 underdogs, but we might as well take the points since they’re giving them to us, right? We’re rolling with the Bryant Bulldogs to cover a +3.5 point spread at -110 odds.
#11 Rutgers vs. #11 Notre Dame – March 16th, 9:10 pm EST
While all four of these games have spreads under four points, this particular one has the smallest one at just a single point. That means this is the toughest game in which to pick a winner. But pick a winner we must, and pick a winner we shall. In the end we went with the Fighting Irish for one main reason: the three-ball. Sure, Notre Dame takes care of the rock (10.3 turnovers per game) and takes advantage of freebies (76 percent from the free throw line), but it’s their potent game beyond the arc that attracted us most. They shoot 38 percent from deep and bang in over nine treys a game, meanwhile Rutgers’ kryptonite this year has been opponent three point shooting. Sounds like a recipe for success for Mike Brey’s men, so we’re taking the Notre Dame Fighting Irish to win this one as ever-so-slight -115 odds favorites.
Don’t miss out on the MADNESS!