March Madness Picks: Take Rutgers, Wright State-Bryant Over in First Four

The Rutgers Scarlet Knights were only a few wins by other teams away from potentially missing the NCAA tournament.

That does not seem fair for a team that beat a who's who of Big Ten teams in February to drastically improve its March Madness resume.

Rutgers has a chance to prove it is far from one of the last four at-large teams in the field of 68 on Wednesday night against the Notre Dame Fighting Irish.

The Big Ten side is a slight underdog for Wednesday's final First Four game in Dayton and there are a few advantages playing in its favor.

The first matchup inside UD Arena on Wednesday features two intriguing mid-major offenses in the Wright State Raiders and Bryant Bulldogs. Bryant's Peter Kiss, the nation's leading scorer, is the name to watch in that matchup.

Wednesday First Four Picks

Overall Record: 1-1

No. 11 Notre Dame vs. No. 11 Rutgers (-105) (9:10 p.m. ET, truTV)

Rutgers has the two best players in the matchup with Notre Dame in Geo Baker and Ron Harper Jr.

The Scarlet Knights proved they could beat NCAA tournament caliber teams when they rolled through Michigan State, Ohio State, Wisconsin and Illinois on a four-game winning streak.

Rutgers has experienced guard play that I value a ton in March Madness, and it has a distinct advantage in offensive rebounding.

The Scarlet Knights rank 133rd in offensive rebounding percentage on KenPom. Notre Dame sits 334th in that metric. Colorado State is the only team in the NCAA tournament with a worse ranking in offensive rebounding.

Cliff Omoruyi has the height advantage down low and that could result in a handful of second-chance opportunities that Rutgers cashes in on.

Notre Dame did not impress me at all in its first postseason game against Virginia Tech in the ACC tournament quarterfinals and its stars could have trouble getting off solid shots against Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year Caleb McConnell.

No. 16 Wright State vs. No. 16 Bryant (Over 154) (6:40 p.m. Et, truTV)

There's a lot to like about the offensive matchup between Wright State and Bryant.

The obvious point is that the nation's leading scorer Peter Kiss is in charge of the seventh-fastest Bryant offense.

Bryant will play at a fast pace and Wright State will not have a problem matching that. The Raiders rank 98th in adjusted tempo.

Both teams rank in the top 65 in two-point offense and Wright State sits 27th in free-throw shooting on KenPom.

Wright State eclipsed the 70-point mark in all of its 21 victories, while Bryant achieved 20 of its 22 wins by reaching the same mark.

The winning team in Wednesday's opener may have to hit 75 or 80 points because both offenses can be so efficient.

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