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March Madness First Four game preview: No. 16. Wright State vs. No. 16 Bryant

The Wright State Raiders and Bryant Bulldogs meet at Dayton Arena for the First Four series in the 2022 NCAA Tournament. We’ve got everything you need on both teams ahead of the game here.

Wright State Raiders guard Tanner Holden celebrates after a play during the second half of the Horizon League championship game between Northern Kentucky and Wright State at Indiana Farmers Coliseum.  Robert Goddin-USA TODAY Sports

Once the odds from DraftKings Sportsbook are made available for this game, we’ll add that information below. We’ll also add the game time and TV channel once it’s settled.

Game date: Wednesday, March 16
Game time: 6:40 p.m. ET
TV channel: TruTV
Location: Dayton, Ohio

No. 16 Wright State 21-13, 15-7 Horizon: Auto Bid

The Raiders battled back from a 16-point deficit with fewer than 12 minutes to play in the Horizon League Tournament final to beat Northern Kentucky and punch their ticket into the Big Dance. It’s their first trip in four years and their second under head coach Scott Nagy.

Wright State employs a pretty small rotation, with four players averaging at least 32 minutes per night. The offense runs through guard Tanner Holden and forward Grant Basile, who are averaging 19.8 and 18.5 points per game, respectively. Close to 60 percent of the Raiders’ possessions end with the ball in their hands. Both men are tallying at least seven rebounds per game, and Holden has attempted and made the most free throws of any player in Division I. The Raiders need their offense to be clicking in order to win since their defense allows 71 points per game on 45% shooting.

Record: 21-13, 15-7 Horizon
KenPom adjusted offensive efficiency: 107
KenPom adjusted defensive efficiency: 262
Against The Spread: 15-18
Over Total: 18-15
Odds to win NCAA Championship: +100000

No. 16 Bryant: 22-9, 15-2 NEC: Auto Bid

On Dec. 3, 2021, Bryant lost at Houston by 67 points. It was hard to believe then that the Bulldogs were a tournament team, but after going 18-2 and winning 16 of their last 17 games they are dancing. It’s a high-scoring, fast-paced squad that shoots a lot of three-pointers (but hit barely 30% of them). Led by charismatic senior guard Peter Kiss, the nation’s leading scorer at 25.1 points per game who has surpassed 30 in seven of his last 10 outings.

The Bulldogs, who have been playing on the Division I level since 2008, are making their first ever NCAA Tournament appearance. They are 37-15 over the past two seasons under fourth-year head coach Jared Grasso.

Record: 22-9, 15-2 NEC
KenPom adjusted offensive efficiency: 154
KenPom adjusted defensive efficiency: 218
Against The Spread: 16-13-1
Over Total: 16-14
Odds to win NCAA Championship: +100000

Odds from DraftKings Sportsbook

Point spread: Wright State -1.5
Point total: 153
Moneyline: Wright State -125, Bryant +105

This matchup is about as even as it gets, so I’ll stay away from the spread and go after the total because this number is far too high. Bryant loves to push the pace as much as possible with an offense that ranks No. 14 nationally in possessions per game, but Wright State will do what they can to slow this one down and play at their style. Bryant shoots a ton of threes, but they don’t make a high percentage of them. Under is the play on Wednesday night.

Pick: Under 153

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