The First Four of the NCAA Tournament
The First Four, a play-in round in the NCAA Division I basketball tournament, features two games played between the lowest-ranked teams. This year’s tournament will feature Wyoming and Indiana, while Bryant and Wright State, and Texas A&M-Corpus Christi and Texas Southern will also play.
Texas A&M-Corpus Christi vs Texas Southern
Texas A&M-Corpus Christi and Texas Southern will meet on Tuesday in the First Four of the NCAA Tournament at Dayton, Ohio’s University of Dayton Arena. The winner of this game will play Kansas in the Midwest Region first round in Fort Worth.
Texas A&M-Corpus Christi is the second team from the state to make the Big Dance this season. It’s also the third from the Southland Conference to make the Big Dance in the last 15 years. Despite a five-game losing streak in the Southland, Texas Southern is still one of the top teams in the league.
The Islanders have been in the NCAA Tournament six times in the last eight seasons. They have twice made the First Four. However, they haven’t been as efficient offensively in the postseason as they have been in the regular season. This is a concern.
Texas A&M-Corpus is a very good team that enters the game with an effective offensive profile. Their defense is among the best in the nation. However, they’re a 328th-ranked free-throw shooting team, with an average of 67.1 percent.
Wyoming vs Indiana
Indiana is a traditional powerhouse. They are a team that has a winning record against Wyoming, and a perfect 3-0 record against Wyoming this season.
The Hoosiers won a Big Ten Tournament title in the fall, but were on the bubble for the NCAA tournament. In fact, their best regular season record since 1951-52 was not enough to get them in the field. Thankfully, a late win over Michigan and a solid Big Ten tournament run secured an at-large berth.
A win over Wyoming will put Indiana in the NCAA Tournament for the first time in two years. Despite the fact that the Cowboys were a disappointing 20-32 this season, they are not the worst team in the Mountain West Conference.
The Hoosiers will have the tough task of dealing with Wyoming’s size. Their biggest problems are rebounding and rim protection. Fortunately, the offense is good at moving the ball and getting in the lane.
But they need to score more than just a few points to win this game. Wyoming is a poor shooting team. Its free throw percentage is not as high as some other Mountain West teams, but it is a respectable 73 percent.
Bryant vs. Wright State
The Wright State Raiders and Bryant Bulldogs will tip off at 6:40 pm ET on Wednesday, March 16 at the UD Arena in Dayton, Ohio. This game will be broadcast on truTV.
These two teams play in the first round of the NCAA Tournament. Both have a lot to prove. The Raiders will need a good game to advance while the Bulldogs will try to slow them down.
Both teams have plenty of offensive firepower and can shoot well. But the Raiders will need to slow down the Bulldogs’ fast-paced attack.
Both teams are incredibly effective in the paint. The Raiders are second in the Horizon league in scoring in the paint with 36.5 points per game. They will need to score on drives and second chance buckets. It will be a close game.
The Bryant Bulldogs also have a lot to prove. They won the Northeast Conference tournament and are the Northeast Conference regular season champions. During conference play, they shot 54 percent on two-point attempts and led the league in adjusted offensive efficiency.
Notre Dame vs Rutgers
Rutgers and Notre Dame will face off in the First Four game on Wednesday night. The winner of this matchup will play a sixth-seed team in the first round of the NCAA Tournament.
While both teams are in the same conference, they are not the same type of team. Rutgers is a more aggressive team than Notre Dame.
During the Big Ten regular season, Rutgers was second in points allowed. In the conference tournament, however, they failed to win. They lost to the eventual conference champions in the quarterfinals.
The Scarlet Knights have had a solid year overall. They’ve been 14-3 at home and beat no. 12 Illinois. But they’ve also gone 4-10 away from Piscataway, N.J.
The Fighting Irish are a tough team to defend on both ends of the court. Whether it’s from three-point range or on the offensive glass, they’ve capitalized on open looks and defensive breakdowns.
Despite this, Notre Dame has a lot of work to do. This team hasn’t been very good at defending the foul line. They’ve allowed opponents to shoot 41% from the line. That means they’re giving up 66 points per game.