March Madness: Take Wyoming, Texas Southern against spread in First Four

Tuesday marks the first day in 11 months that you tune your television to truTV.

It is also the first time most sports fans watch Texas A&M Corpus Christi and Texas Southern, two No. 16 seeds vying for the right to take on Kansas.

Texas Southern has been a regular participant in the First Four over the last few years and its defensive numbers show there is an edge against the Islanders.

Indiana and Wyoming both have some impressive defensive metrics and it is hard to decipher which team will emerge from Tuesday's second game.

The Hoosiers and Cowboys each have solid inside-outside combinations and that leads me to believe we will have a close game inside UD Arena to close out the night.

Tuesday First Four Picks

No. 16 Texas A&M Corpus Christi vs. No. 16 Texas Southern (-3.5) (6:40 p.m. ET, truTV)

I can't admit to watching much of either No. 16 seeds set to take the court first in Dayton.

Texas A&M Corpus Christi won the Southland tournament. Texas Southern captured the SWAC tournament title.

The Southland and SWAC are the two lowest-rated conferences on KenPom.

Texas Southern has better defensive metrics, and that is what I'm relying on with this pick.

The Tigers rank 13th in defensive effective field-goal percentage, 17th in three-point defense and 21st in two-point defense.

Texas A&M-CC ranks 131st, 67th and 208th in those respective categories.

It is also worth noting Texas Southern has experience playing in the First Four in recent years from 2018 and 2021. They won both of those contests.

That experience combined with the defensive numbers lead me to a definitive pick with Texas Southern.

No. 12 Indiana vs. No. 12 Wyoming (+4) (9:10 p.m. ET, truTV)

My heart keeps leaning toward Wyoming every time I look at the matchup with Indiana.

My head looks at the defensive numbers of both teams and believes they are comparable enough where Indiana does not have a significant advantage.

Indiana is seventh in two-point defense and 21st in defensive adjusted efficiency.

Wyoming is 32nd in three-point defense and 66th in adjusted efficiency.

Both defenses have their strengths and the individual matchups should make this a level contest.

Indiana's Trayce Jackson-Davis will do battle with Wyoming's Graham Ike in the paint, while Xavier Johnson and Hunter Maldonado go head-to-head in the backcourt.

I believe this game will come down to the final few possessions and the one stat that sticks out is Indiana ranking 234th in free-throw shooting on KenPom, which is 80 spots below Wyoming.

Indiana shot above 70 percent from the line in three Big Ten tournament games, but it only went over 80 percent once. There is some reason for concern in that spot

Wyoming also has wins in all four of its overtime games and it was 9-1 in games decided by five points or less.

The Cowboys should put themselves in position to at least have an attempt to win Tuesday's contest.

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