Indiana vs Saint Mary's Prediction, Game Preview: NCAA Tournament First Round

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Indiana vs Saint Mary's Prediction, Game Preview: NCAA Tournament First Round

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Indiana vs Saint Mary's Prediction, Game Preview: NCAA Tournament First Round


Indiana vs Saint Mary’s: NCAA Tournament First Round prediction and college basketball game preview.

Indiana vs Saint Mary’s Game Preview, NCAA Tournament First Round How To Watch

Date: Thursday, March 17
Game Time: 7:20 pm
Venue: Moda Center, Portland, OR
How To Watch: TBS
Records: Indiana (12 seed, 21-13)
Saint Mary’s (5 seed, 25-7)
Region: TBS

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Why Saint Mary's Will Win

You like made three point shots, right?

Who doesn’t?

They’re fun, they’re aesthetically pleasing, and they have the perfect sports combination of anticipation and payoff – the world slows to a stop when the ball is in flight.

Yeah … Indiana doesn’t do that.

Oh, it tries, but when your star future NBA player – Trayce Jackson-Davis – famously never, ever shoots from the outside, it’s hard to crank up the three.

Indiana was second-to-last in the Big Ten in three pointers made, and it pumped in just two in its 13 tries in the 66-58 win over Wyoming. Combine that with a painful inability to make enough free throws, and Saint Mary’s should catch a break.

It’s not great at defending the three and doesn’t get to the line to do much on the free throw line. What it can do is slow games down to a crawl, so if Indiana wants to make this a defensive fight, fine. That’s exactly what the Gaels want to do.

However …

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Why Indiana Will Win

Saint Mary’s fits exactly what Indiana needs to get out of the first round.

The Hoosiers aren’t going to keep up with the high-powered offensive teams that get up and down the floor in a hurry. What they can do, though, is play a tough game on the inside, get aggressive on every shot, and it’ll make Saint Mary’s press their attack.

Wyoming was a rock this year when it came to mistakes. Indiana’s D may the Cowboys turn it over a season-high 18 times to offset a relatively strong game from the field.

This is going to be played in the 60s, and possibly the 50s. Indiana has to hold up inside – Saint Mary’s doesn’t make threes, either – and …

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Indiana vs Saint Mary's: What’s Going To Happen

This is going to be about who has the best player on the floor.

Saint Mary’s has a slew of very good players, but coming off his 29-point game against Wyoming, Jackson-Davis will once again be the difference-maker the other side can’t account for.

Indiana isn’t going to score – Saint Mary’s held Gonzaga to under 70 in all three meetings this year – so it has to hit its free throws.

It has to win the offensive glass with close to the 15 it got against Wyoming, it has to win the 50/50 balls, and again, Jackson-Davis has to be Jackson-Davis.

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Indiana vs Saint Mary's: NCAA Tournament First Round Prediction, Lines

Indiana 67, Saint Mary’s 64
Line: Saint Mary’s -2.5, o/u: 126.5
ATS Confidence out of 5: 2
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