2023 NCAA Tournament First Four Picks & Predictions: Tuesday (3/14)

Mar 14, 2023 - 9:25 AM

The 2023 NCAA Men’s Tournament kicks off tonight with two play-in games. We have two 16-seeds vying to play against top-seeded Alabama, but the one we always like to pay attention to is the 11-seed matchup. This is because, in the past, we have had the winners of this game go on to win at least the first round.

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Best Bets for NCAA Tournament First Four

Odds via FanDuel

Southeast Missouri State vs. Texas A&M-CC (-3.5) | O/U 155.5

After finishing 15-16 during the regular season, Southeast Missouri State had a cinderella run in the Ohio Valley Conference tournament. Coming in as the fifth seed, they got three upset wins to get the automatic bid.

The backcourt is the driving force of this squad, with Chris Harris averaging 22 points in the OVC tournament and Phillip Russell grabbing 21 points in the championship.

Texas A&M-CC is coming into this game red hot, winning 12 of their previous 13.

The Islanders do two things very well — they’re fifth in free-throw percentage and top 50 in three-point percentage. They’ve been known to get hot with their outside shooting, and being clutch down the stretch will pay off well.

Both teams like to move fast, and we should get a high-scoring game. Texas A&M-CC is the better team, and their clutch shooting should earn them a win and the cover.

Pick: Texas A&M-CC -3.5 (-115)

Pittsburgh vs. Mississippi State (-2.5) | O/U 133.5

Pitt’s offense can score, and they are averaging 76 points per game. Guard Jamarius Burton is quick and will drive the lane and make contact.

Their outside shooting is where they excel the most — they’re 27th in three-point attempts, with F Blake Hinson, G Nelly Cummings, and G Greg Elliott shooting 35% or better from behind the arc.

Pitt is a below-average defensive team, but Miss State has tremendous two-way talent.

Guard Shakeel Moore is an explosive player with the ball, but he’s also an aggressive defender and eliminates the lane. They will look to forward Tolu Smith down in the paint. He should be named to First Team All-SEC as he finished second in rebounds and first in field goal percentage.

If Pitt goes cold from the field, this game will be over quickly. Miss State will easily win the defensive and rebound battle, which will be the determining factor in this game.

Pick: Mississippi State -2.5 (-110)

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