Indiana vs. Saint Mary’s Odds, Picks, Predictions: Will Jackson-Davis Decide NCAA Tournament First-Round Game?
Photo by Brian Spurlock/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images. Pictured: Trayce Jackson-Davis (Indiana)
- If Saint Mary's limits turnovers and defends Trayce Jackson-Davis well, it should cover against Indiana.
- But can you actually bet on that? Our college basketball analyst break down this first-round NCAA Tournament matchup below.
- Find out what their picks and predictions are based on Indiana vs. Saint Mary's odds below.
Indiana vs. Saint Mary’s Odds
-110o / -110u
|Saint Mary’s Odds|
-110o / -110u
By D.J. James
The Indiana Hoosiers took care of business vs. the Wyoming Cowboys in the First Four, forcing 18 turnovers. This was the key and the major difference in their eight-point margin of victory.
However, they now go up against the Saint Mary’s Gaels, one of the only programs this season to take down the top-seeded Gonzaga Bulldogs.
Both the Gaels and Hoosiers thrive on the defensive end, but the Gaels rank ninth in adjusted defensive efficiency, per KenPom, versus Indiana’s 21st. Saint Mary’s also has a stronger offense and can hit shots both inside and out, while Indiana lives in the paint and at the free throw line.
Do not expect the Gaels to riddle off turnovers consistently. They are a disciplined squad that will be much more poised for the moment than the Cowboys were Tuesday night. They should cover the short number as the favorite.
When the Hoosiers were down 17 in the second half to Michigan in the first round of the Big Ten Tournament, it appeared all but a certainty that Trayce Jackson-Davis would never play in the NCAA Tournament.
Boy can things change quickly in March.
Indiana came all the way back to pull that one out, and then followed it up with an upset over top-seed Illinois.
IU lost in the semis to Iowa at the buzzer, but the Big Ten Tournament run was enough to get the Hoosiers into the Big Dance, where it knocked off Wyoming in the First Four Tuesday night.
Indiana now heads to Portland with a ton of momentum on its side, and an intriguing matchup against Saint Mary’s.
Jackson-Davis is playing the best basketball of his career, and has been dominant over the last five or so games.
That said, Saint Mary’s is a fantastic defensive team, and it will make it difficult for Jackson-Davis on the inside. For the Hoosiers to have a chance in this one, Parker Stewart and Miller Kopp will need to shoot it much better from behind the arc.
Both have really struggled of late, and Saint Mary’s is not the type of opponent you can rely on just throwing it inside to your big man.
By D.J. James
The Gaels are a strong team, and they slow the game down to their speed. This is how they limited both Chet Holmgren and Drew Timme to six points apiece when they defeated Gonzaga.
They are capable of removing their opponent’s interior strength. This is a concern for the Hoosiers because Jackson-Davis is the team’s bread-and-butter source for inside scoring.
Matthias Tass matches up well with Jackson-Davis. Even if everyone expected Wyoming’s Graham Ike to give TJD a run for his money in the post, Tass is a bit more controlled and only averages 1.6 turnovers per game.
In addition, the offense for Saint Mary’s does not only flow through Tass. Tommy Kuhse, Logan Johnson and Alex Ducas all average double digits in scoring, as well.
On offense, the Gaels excel on open 3-pointers. Even if the majority of the Gaels’ scoring this season has come in the paint, they rank first in Open 3 Rate, per ShotQuality, and 55th in Rim & 3 Rate. This means they manufacture efficient shots often.
Indiana struggles with these very same categories, so Saint Mary’s will take advantage of the open looks.
On defense, Saint Mary’s will completely eliminate second-scoring chances for the Hoosiers. This will, in turn, limit fouling, which Jackson-Davis banks on in the post. In fact, the Gaels rank fourth (KenPom) in defensive rebounding rate.
Indiana vs. Saint Mary’s Betting Pick
By D.J. James
Saint Mary’s will not make the same mistakes that Wyoming did Tuesday night. This team is seasoned and extremely aware of the moment. Kuhse has been with the program since 2016.
They also have the inside presence of Tass to counteract Jackson-Davis and Race Thompson. On top of that, they have stronger, more experienced guard play.
As long as Saint Mary’s takes care of the ball and can limit the impact from Jackson-Davis on this game, Indiana could look lost, especially if TJD can’t get to the free throw line.
Look for the Gaels to take care of business and limit second shots when the Hoosiers have the ball. Once that happens, they should cover and control the pace of play for much of the game.
Since Indiana is not a very sound offensive squad, it will not dictate how this matchup is played.
Pick: Saint Mary’s -2.5 (Play to -4)
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