The #16 Texas Southern Tigers (16-8) matchup against the #16 Mount St. Mary’s (12-10) in the First Four round of the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament. Thursday’s winner will advance to play #1 Michigan on Friday. The tipoff is set for 5:10 p.m. EST inside Simon Skjodt Assembly Hall in Bloomington, IN. You can view the contest on TruTV. According to oddsmakers, this game is a pick-um.
What to Know – Texas Southern Tigers
Texas Southern makes their ninth appearance in the NCAA Tournament after winning the Southwest Athletic Conference championship. The Tigers last appeared in the Big Dance in 2018. Texas Southern finished the regular season in third place in the SWAC standings but have won nine games in a row.
The Tigers score 74.8 points per game while shooting 45.1% from the floor and 27.4% from beyond the arc. TSU’s defense allows 39.8 points per game and holds teams to 39.8% shooting from the field and 31% from three.
Five starters scored in double figures in the 80-61 victory over top-seed Prairie View A&M in the SWAC Tournament final. The Tigers were led in scoring by junior forward Joirdon Karl Nicholas, who shot 7-of-11 from the field, scoring 16 points. Nicholas grabbed 12 rebounds for his fifth double-double of the season. TSU shot 50.9% (29-of-57) from the field and held the Panthers to 33.8% (24-of-71) shooting.
TSU is 11-10-2 against the spread this year, but 4-1-1 ATS in their last six contests. The Tigers are 3-0 this season in neutral site games.
What to Know – Mount St. Mary’s Mountaineers
Mount St. Mary’s wrapped up their regular season with a fourth-place finish in the Northeast Conference and last team into the four-team NEC’s post-season tournament. The victory places the Mountaineers in the NCAA Tournament for the sixth time in school history.
The Mountaineers average 63.7 points per game on 42.6% shooting from the field and 33.7% shooting from beyond the arc. Defensively, Mount St. Mary’s surrender 62.3 points per game, containing opponents to 40.5% shooting from the floor and 30.1% from deep.
Junior guard Damien Chong-Qui scored a team-high 21 points, and junior forward Malik Jefferson chipped in ten points and 15 rebounds in the 73-68 upset over Bryant in the NEC championship. The Mountaineers shot 40.4% (23-of-57) from the field and outrebounded Bryant, 46-34. Mount St. Mary’s only played two reserves off the bench.
Mount St. Mary’s rolls into the tournament with a 13-9 record ATS and 7-3 mark over their last ten matchups. The Mountaineers did not cover the spread in their lone contest at a neutral site this season.
The Pick is In
One of the biggest differences between these two schools is the pace of play. Texas Southern is aggressive on offense and loves to push the ball up the floor, while the Mountaineers rank near the bottom of Division I in pace. If the TSU plays their game, Mount St. Mary’s will be unable to keep up with the Tigers.
The Pick: Texas Southern PK