Indiana and Saint Mary’s will square off in the first round of the NCAA Tournament, with the West Coast Conference representatives holding the higher seed in this 5 vs. 12 matchup. The Hoosiers have already played a game in the tournament, winning in the First Four to get to the round of 64, while the Gaels will look to prove that their seeding was justified. In our first round of March Madness betting picks, we look at Indiana vs Saint Mary’s in the first round of the tournament.
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Indiana vs Saint Mary’s Betting Pick
This game will be played at Moda Center at 7:20 PM ET on Thursday, March 17, 2022.
Why Bet On Saint Mary’s:
✅ Indiana won in the First Four against Wyoming, but they were far from impressive in doing so. The Hoosiers shot just 15% from three-point range on Tuesday night, and the defense of Saint Mary’s will cause them to continue to struggle en route to a victory and a cover for the Gaels in their tournament opener.
✅ The Hoosiers also benefited from a terrible performance offensively from Wyoming in the First Four. The Cowboys turned the ball over a whopping 19 times, giving the ball away on multiple occasions where they had a chance to make the game close again. Saint Mary’s does not beat itself in the same way, which will not give Indiana the same easy opportunities to maintain a lead.
✅ Saint Mary’s has seen bigs better than Trayce Jackson-Davis this season, thanks to their three matchups with Gonzaga this year. Matthias Tass and the rest of the Gaels bigs have already taken on the likes of Drew Timme and Chet Holmgren, and the elite defense of Saint Mary’s will benefit from that experience here.
Indiana earned the right to play in the 5 vs. 12 matchup in the East Region by beating the Wyoming Cowboys during the First Four on Tuesday night. In their 66-58 victory over Wyoming, the Hoosiers struggled throughout on the offensive end, but did plenty on defense to pick up their first victory of this tournament. The question now is how the Hoosiers will perform against a Saint Mary’s team that is superior to Wyoming on both ends of the floor.
If Indiana is going to advance past the first round, they are going to need Trayce Jackson-Davis to perform well against another quality big man on the opposite side. Jackson-Davis scored 29 points against a Wyoming team with a strong big in Graham Ike. The Hoosiers forward will need to put up similar numbers to help his team get by Matthias Tass and the Gaels.
Saint Mary’s Gaels
Saint Mary’s finished second in the West Coast Conference this season, something they are used to doing with the Gonzaga Bulldogs in the picture. This season, though, the Gaels earned a five-seed for their season in which they lost fewer than 10 games. They will aim to prove that their status as a five-seed is justified against a Power 5 opponent in Portland in the first round, which could feel like a home game in the Pacific Northwest.
The matchup between Tass and Jackson-Davis will be a significant one for the outcome of this game, but the guard play of Saint Mary’s will be significant as well. Saint Mary’s is vulnerable to offensive droughts, and their guards will be called upon to break any of those potential droughts given that Tass could struggle on the inside against Jackson-Davis of the Hoosiers.