The South and Midwest Regional matchups occur Tuesday, with the East and West Regions squaring off on Wednesday. All four contests will be televised on Tru TV and held at the UD Arena in Dayton, Ohio.
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SE Missouri State Redhawks vs. Texas A&M-Corpus Christi Islanders 6:40 pm
Southeast Missouri State is a +4 point underdog with a 153-point total when they open the First-Four matchups Tuesday night against Texas A&M Corpus Christi. The winner of Tuesday night’s tilt earns the right to face No. 1 seed Alabama Thursday afternoon in the South regional.
SE Missouri State won the Ohio Valley Conference Tournament but finished 5th in the OVC standings. The Redhawks dropped five last regular season games before their four-game run to the OVC title. Phillip Russell leads the team in scoring and assists—Russell scored 21 in the OVC championship game, and Chris Harris has scored 20 or more in three of his past five contests.
— Ohio Valley Conference (@OVCSports) March 5, 2023
The Redhawks have their hands full Tuesday night against Southland Conference regular season and postseason tournament champion Texas A&M Corpus Christi. The Islanders have won 12 of their last 13 and rank 17th in the nation in scoring.
Texas A&M has three players scoring in double figures–Trevian Tennyson has struggled to find his shot, and the Islanders’ leading scorer has failed to score his average in two of his last three. Terrion Murdix played just three minutes before injuring his knee in the championship game and is questionable.
Here are 3 things to know about this Springfield star's second NCAA tournament berth https://t.co/hHCZwfAtux
— SJ-R Sports (@SJRsports) March 10, 2023
Phil’s Best Bet: Take SE Missouri to cover the +4 points. SE Missouri State is hot, and they have a great chance to advance against a Corpus Christi team that’s likely missing its 2nd leading scorer and top playmaker.
The Islanders’ offense did just enough against Northwestern State, but this Redhawks team is 6-0 ATS on neutral courts, and if not for some bad away losses, SE Missouri State would be favored in this contest. Take the points and SE Missouri State to cover the spread at DraftKings.
Mississippi State Bulldogs vs. Pittsburgh Panthers 9:10 pm
Mississippi State is a -2 point favorite with a 132.5 point total when they play the second game of the First-Four matchups Tuesday night against the Pittsburgh Panthers. The Tuesday night’s tilt winner earns the right to face No. 6 seed Iowa State Friday evening in the Midwest regional.
The Bulldogs were 9th in the SEC regular season standings and ended their season winning three of their past five. Mississippi State was 4-8 against Quad 1 teams and 4-2 on neutral courts and finished 12th in the country in points allowed per game.
Bulldogs forward Tolu Smith leads the team in scoring and caroms–Smith has three consecutive double-doubles and has outscored his average over his previous five games.
The hoop and the harm. 💪
— Mississippi State Men's Basketball (@HailStateMBK) March 10, 2023
Pitt finished 5th in the ACC table but has dropped three of its last four. The Panthers are 4-4 against Quad One teams this season but 1-3 on neutral courts.
Pittsburgh ranked 2nd in their conference in offensive efficiency, and they are an above-average shooting side from inside and outside of the arc. Jamrius Burton and Blake Hinson lead the team in scoring–neither has hit their scoring average in three of their last five contests.
Capel Named Naismith National Coach of the Year Semifinalist
— Pitt Basketball (@Pitt_MBB) March 10, 2023
Phil’s Best Bet: I like the Under 132.5 for this game. Mississippi State lives on the defensive end of the court, and they face a steady yet unspectacular Pitt offense whose top two scorers are struggling to find their shot.
The Bulldogs play a super-slow tempo against an average tempo Pitt offense-this bodes well for the Under–the Bulldogs are 1-5 to the Under, whereas the Panthers are 4-0 to the Over on neutral courts.
We should expect a low-scoring slog between two teams fighting for the right to play Iowa State on Friday. Play Under 132.5 -110 at DraftKings.
Fairleigh Dickinson Knights vs Texas Southern Tigers Wednesday 6:40 pm
Farleigh Dickenson is a +2.5 point underdog with a 146.5 point total when they meet the Texas Southern Tigers Wednesday for the right to face No. 1 seed Purdue in the East Regional.
The Knights reached the First Four thanks to Merrimac being prohibited from playing in the Big Dance after moving to D1. Farleigh Dickenson had the most wins in the Northeast Conference and has won three of its past five clashes.
The Knights were 0-1 against Quad One teams and were 43rd in scoring. Demetre Perry leads the team in points but has failed to score his average in four of his past five games.
“So Merrimack won the NEC Championship & should be in the tournament, but since they just transitioned from division 2, Farleigh Dickinson is the team that makes it instead. Silly NCAA rule. And they knew all this before even playing their game today.” pic.twitter.com/pW0vIbrYJN
— Ben Cary (@Ben_Cary_) March 8, 2023
Texas Southern finished 8th in the Southwestern Athletic Conference standings but won the conference tourney and has a shot at a date with Purdue Friday night. The Tigers were 0-4 against Quad One teams and 6-3 over their last nine but 4-1 on neutral courts.
Texas Southern is a below-average offense, with four players scoring in double figures. Davon Barnes leads the Tigers in scoring and has 13+ points in his past four contests.
— Mark Berman (@MarkBermanFox26) March 12, 2023
Phil’s Best Bet: Texas Southern may be the 1st school since the 1985 64-team expansion to lose 20 games and still reach the NCAA Tournament, but the Tigers -2.5 is a good bet for this game.
Farleigh Dickenson plays the worst defense in D1 ball and wasn’t even the top team in what Kenneth Pomeroy ranks as the 2nd worst conference in D1 basketball.
The Tigers are peaking at the right time and have too much offense for the Knights to overcome. Texas Southern covers the -2.5 -110 at DraftKings.
Nevada Wolfpack vs. Arizona State Sun Devils 9:10 pm
Nevada is a +1.5 point underdog with a 133.5 point total when they meet the Arizona State Sun Devils in the last First-Four matchups, with the winner meeting TCU Friday night in the West Regional.
The Wolfpack finished 4th in the Mountain West standings and have lost three straight and four of their past six but 2-2 on neutral courts.
Nevada is the 4th best free-throw shooting team, with one of the lowest turnover rates in the nation. Jarod Lucas leads the Wolfpack in scoring and has three consecutive 23+ games for one of the nation’s best defensive teams.
2H | @Trecoleman13 block on one end leads to a Blackshear 🪣 on the other 👏
— Nevada Basketball (@NevadaHoops) March 10, 2023
Arizona State was 5th in the Pac-12 standings but has lost three of its past five. The Sun Devils went 5-1 on neutral courts and would like nothing better than to play TCU on Friday night. ASU is a strong defensive team with a high steal rate and forced the 2nd most turnovers in the Pac-12.
The Sun Devils have pedestrian offensive numbers–Desmond Cambridge Jr leads the Sun Devils in scoring and steals but hasn’t scored his average in four of his previous five games.
Dez wasn’t done stealing the ball in the sequence 😏
— Sun Devil MBB (@SunDevilHoops) March 11, 2023
Phil’s Best Bet: Nevada ML +120 is the play in this one. Nevada does all the little things right and has the better offense of the two, which should carry the Wolfpack past the Sun Devils.
The Wolfpack is one of the best free-throw shooting teams in the nation with a low turnover rate, and that’s how teams win games in March Madness.
The Wolfpack defense should get enough stops, outscore the low-scoring Sun Devils and win this game SU +120 at DraftKings. Take Nevada +120.
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