NCAA Tournament First Four Odds & Picks for Indiana vs. Wyoming: Will Hoosiers Cover Number?
Photo by Zach Bolinger/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images. Pictured: Trayce Jackson-Davis (Indiana)
- Indiana takes on Wyoming in the First Four for the right to take on Saint Mary's in the Round of 64.
- The Hoosiers match up well with the Cowboys' dynamic duo of Graham Ike and Hunter Maldonado.
- Our staff breaks down everything you need to know about this matchup and offers up a best bet.
Indiana vs. Wyoming Odds
-110o / -110u
-110o / -110u
CBS will have no problem drawing eyeballs to this titillating First Four showdown. It’s perennial power meets data-driven darling, folks!
With an appearance in Dayton, Indiana snaps what felt like a never-ending six-year NCAA Tournament drought. Boy were the Crean and Crimson fans bloodthirsty for a postseason birth.
After a blistering run through the Big Ten Tournament, spoiled by Jordan Bohannon’s buzzer-beating heave, the Hoosiers thought they had played their way safely into the field.
Turns out, the critical quarterfinal victory over Illinois was not just a “nice to have” after all.
Bracketologists can litigate the draw until the cows come home (a few IU players weren’t bashful in vocalizing their displeasure), but all that matters is first-year head coach Mike Woodson gets to breathe an emphatic sigh of relief with his alma mater back in the dance.
On the other side of the coin, Wyoming head coach Jeff Linder and his analytic acumen is more or less just thrilled to be here.
Wyoming notched its first at-large berth since 2002, a testament to the astonishing job Linder did in his second year at the helm. Despite losing five of their final nine games, the Cowboys’ body of work impressed the committee enough to secure a spot in the field.
The Hoosiers wouldn’t be here without a late-season rejuvenation of Xavier Johnson and Trayce Jackson-Davis. The former’s been an enigma all year. The latter dealt with minor injuries, along with the cumulative wear and tear of the Big Ten gauntlet.
Now, “X” is playing like the dynamic lead guard IU’s sorely missed since Yogi Ferrell graduated in 2016. Yes, TJD is the decorated All-American workhorse, but any IU fan will tell you this team goes as “X” goes.
Indiana’s February swoon also coincided with two indispensable cogs, Trey Galloway and Rob Phinisee, missing time. Both made waves in IU’s mini run in the Big Ten Tournament, particularly on the defensive end.
On offense, Indiana needs their opportunistic scoring and playmaking, too, but their presence defensively ignited a few key runs in Indianapolis last week.
Finally, IU’s recent health revival continues with the confirmation that Jordan Geronimo is expected to return for the NCAA Tournament. Geronimo’s not a world-beater, but his athletic 6-foot-6 frame could come in handy in this matchup.
Meet the “post-up Pokes.” As highlighted in Jordan Sperber’s tremendous stylistic breakdown of the field, no team in America plays inside-out via the post more than Wyoming.
On the surface, this goes against Linder’s analytical roots.
The shot quality bible would say a post-up jump hook is one of the least efficient shots on the floor. However, Linder’s discovered a market inefficiency in weaponizing not one but two prolific triggermen in this domain.
The more conventional prototype in this regard is Graham Ike. The bruising, physical big is one of the game’s biggest breakout stars in 2022. A lesser-used reserve last season, Linder’s seen Ike blossom into a dominant force up front this year in the blink of an eye.
The second and more prominent threat is Hunter Maldonado, the Pokes’ all-everything swiss-army knife.
Consider how effectively teams like Villanova utilize their guards and wings to do damage from the post. Linder has found that same secret sauce with Maldonado.
Not only can he score against less adept guard/wing post defenders, but he can spray the ball around to shooters and cutters. Doubling Maldonado or Ike is a dicey proposition, though — leave shooters at your own risk.
Indiana vs. Wyoming Betting Pick
This X-factor in this matchup is Race Thompson. His defensive versatility is paramount in this matchup, especially as a potential neutralizer to Maldonado.
Thompson’s agile enough to chase Maldonado around the perimeter, but above all, he’s an imposing presence in the post, capable of deterring the Maldonado back down.
On paper, Indiana’s inherent strengths are well suited to defend Wyoming’s bread and butter. However, the Hoosiers have shown a propensity to lose shooters on the perimeter at times this year, too.
These exact warts reappeared in Iowa’s furious comeback in the Big Ten semis, as the Hawkeyes’ pristine ball movement ripped Indiana’s perimeter coverage to shreds late in the game. Losing shooters is not a recipe for success against Wyoming.
Linder’s tactical brilliance will force Woodson to make some tough decisions, but the Hoosiers’ innate DNA — interior physicality and toughness — should give them the upper hand from the jump.