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2022 NCAA Tournament Preview: Michigan, Iowa, and Indiana

Preview all of Thursday’s Big Ten action in the Big Dance’s Round of 64.

Syndication: The Herald-Times Rich Janzaruk/Herald-Times / USA TODAY NETWORK

The 2022 NCAA Tournament First Round officially kicks off today with three Big Ten teams playing throughout the day in the Round of 64. Michigan, Iowa, and Indiana all take to the court with the hopes of victory to advance to play another day.

Let’s take a look at the slate.

Opening Game:

-No. 12 Indiana Hoosiers (21-13, 9-11) vs. No. 5 St. Mary’s Gaels (25-7, 12-3 WCC)

  • Time/TV: 7:20 PM EST (TBS)
  • TallySight Spread: Indiana +4

Indiana made it to the Round of 64 thanks to a win over Wyoming on Tuesday. Now the Hooisers face off against West Coast Conference member St. Mary’s. Hailing from the San Francisco Bay area, the Gaels were the WCC runner-up to Gonzaga and fell in the West Coast Conference championship game. St. Mary’s is the favored team tonight, though.

The Hoosiers were led by Trayce Jackson-Davis’s 29 points in the win over Wyoming and are coming off wins over Michigan and Illinois last week in the Big Ten Tournament before falling to tourney champ Iowa in the semi-finals by a buzzer beater for the Hawkeyes. IU Wyoming to just 58 points in the First-Four matchup Tuesday, well below the Cowboys 73.0 ppg average.

As for the Gaels, this matchup should be a defensive oriented one. First though, forward Matthias Tass leads the Gaels on offense. Tass averages 12.6 ppg on 55 percent shooting from the field. He also leads the team on the glass with 6.0 rpg per game and in blocks with 0.7 bpg. Guard Tommy Kuhse averages 12.0 ppg and a team-high 3.6 apg, guard Logan Johnson adds 11.5 ppg and a team high 2.0 spg, while guard Alex Ducas adds 10.2 ppg.

Saint Mary’s allows opponents just 60.5 ppg, compared to Indiana’s 71.5 ppg on offense. The Gaels rank 12th in the country in that category, while IU gives up 65.7 ppg to opponents, good for 73rd. The Gaels also excel at halting opponent’s ball movement, ranking second in the country in allowing just 8.4 assists per game.

This one should be a tough challenge for Indiana and St. Mary’s. However, while the oddsmakers favor St. Mary’s in this one, the Gaels play in a weaker conference and faced few tests in the non-conference. A single win over Gonzaga at home is the lone win over a ranked team and otherwise St. Mary’s managed to defeat Notre Dame and San Francisco (season sweep 2-0) in terms of tournament teams. Despite the short turnaround time, Indiana should have the battle testing to get the upset and advance in this one.

  • Pick: Indiana

The Rest:

-No. 11 Michigan Wolverines (17-14, 11-9) vs. No. 6 Colorado State Rams (25-5, 14-4 MWC)

  • Time/TV: 12:15 PM EST (CBS)
  • TallySight Spread: Michigan -1

Michigan hopes to rebound after a 15-point collapse last week in the Big Ten Tournament to Indiana, but will need to do so as the lower seed in this one as Colorado State looms as the No. 6 seed. The Rams, similar to St. Mary’s, have little in the way of notable wins outside of conference play. However, the team does have a reliable standard of play that has eluded Michigan at times. Despite being the higher-seed, the Wolverines are the favored team as a result.

The Rams play mistake free offense as a team, averaging 73.7 ppg and just 10.1 turnovers. CSU also ranks top-20 nationally in effective field goal percentage, but the team plays at a methodical pace of play makes it tough to rally from a big deficit. So for the Rams, if the shots aren’t falling early for the team, it can find it difficult to come back. However, if the shots fall early, then the opponent is often the one struggling to keep up.

To that end, Colorado State is led by 6-foot-5 forward and NBA prospect David Roddy who averages 19.4 ppg, 7.6 rpg, and 1.1 bpg. He also adds 2.8 apg, good for second on the team. The Rams have gone 17-3 when Roddy scores at least 17 points. Guard Isaiah Stevens adds 14.9 ppg and leads the team in assists (4.8 apg) and steals (1.2 spg). No other scorers is averaging double-figures for CSU, however.

If Michigan hasn’t exorcised its demons from that comeback win by Indiana and the inconsistent play by the Wolverines this season, the popular upset pick many are making in this matchup will bust a lot of brackets.

  • Pick: Michigan

-No. 12 Richmond Spiders (23-12, 10-8 A10) vs. No. 5 Iowa Hawkeyes (26-9, 12-8)

  • Time/TV: 3:10 PM EST (truTV)
  • TallySight Spread: Iowa -10.5

A Hawkeyes team that averaged 85 ppg (just 80 ppg when removing the 112 against Northwestern from the mix) in the Big Ten Tournament will face off against a Spiders squad that scored just 67.8 ppg in the Atlantic 10 Tournament. Still, the No. 12 seeds historically can prove to be big headaches for opponents in the Round of 64. Perhaps oddsmakers might there be a bit off in favoring Iowa in this one by double-digits?

The Hawkeyes are the fourth-most efficient offensive team in the nation while Richmond allowed 68.3 ppg by opponents. From three-point range, the Spiders have allowed 34.3 percent shooting from deep by opponents, 232nd in the nation, seeing opposing teams hit 7.1 threes on 20.7 attempts per game. The Hawkeyes, though, are hitting 36.8 percent from deep this season, making 9.3 shots on 25.2 attempts per game. With that kind of volume, Iowa is likely to run away with this one if it sticks to the season averages.

However, Richmond does have a respectable history of upsets. A 15th seeded Spiders squad in 1991 upset No. 2 seed Syracuse and a 2011 squad made it to the Sweet 16. However, this also marks Richmond’s first NCAA Tournament since that 2011 squad. While the Hawkeyes may suddenly go cold from the field, 6-foot-7 forward Tyler Burton for the Spiders and his 16.3 ppg and 7.7 rpg are unlikely to find the offense in this one.

  • Pick: Iowa