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No. 2 Auburn vs. No. 15 Jacksonville State: Preview, picks for first round of 2022 NCAA Tournament

The Auburn Tigers and Jacksonville State Gamecocks meet at in the first round of the 2022 NCAA Tournament. We’ve got everything you need on both teams ahead of the game here.

The first round of the 2022 NCAA Tournament continues on Friday with a Midwest region matchup at Bon Secours Wellness Arena in Greenville, SC, between the No. 2 Auburn Tigers and the No. 15 Jacksonville State Gamecocks. The game will tip off at 12:40 p.m. ET on TruTV.

No. 2 Auburn: 27-5 (15-3 SEC): At-large

KenPom rating: 10 Overall, 24 Offense, 8 Defense
NET ranking: 11, (8-5 Vs. Quad 1)
Leading scorer: Jabari Smith (17.1 ppg)
Key stat: The Tigers lead the nation in block percentage at 21%.

Auburn enters the big dance coming off a successful campaign where it won the SEC regular season title and had an outside shot at a No. 1 seed. The Tigers spent a few weeks at the top of the AP poll, rattling off 19 straight victories at one point before winning five of their last nine contests.

The Tigers will once again be led by SEC Freshman of the Year Jabari Smith, who some are projecting as the No. 1 overall pick in the 2022 NBA Draft.

No. 15 Jacksonville State: 21-10 (13-3 A-Sun): Auto Bid

KenPom rating: 144 Overall, 132 Offense, 175 Defense
NET ranking: 143 (0-2 VS QUAD 1)
Leading scorer: Darian Adams (15.6 ppg)
Key stat: JSU was a Top 10 three-point shooting team in the country, shooting 38.2% from downtown.

Jacksonville State heads into the NCAA Tournament as the Atlantic Sun representative and was able to get in despite losing in the semifinals of the conference tournament. Champion Bellarmine was ineligible due to rules about teams transitioning up from DII to DI, allowing for the Gamecocks to get into the big dance.

Jacksonville State will try to keep pace with Auburn offensively. The team shot 54.2% in effective field goal percentage, good for 25th in the country.

Odds from DraftKings Sportsbook

Point spread: Auburn -15
Point total: 138
Moneyline: Auburn -2000, Jacksonville State +1000

The Pick

Against The Spread Pick: Auburn -15
Point total pick: Over 138
Pick to Win: Auburn

Auburn outflanks Jacksonville State on both ends of the floor and should be able to win this in-state first-round matchup with ease. The Tigers will most likely crack 80 points and the Gamecocks should be able to provide just enough in garbage time to sneak the total past 138.