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No. 6 LSU vs. No. 11 Iowa State: Preview, picks for first round of 2022 NCAA Tournament

The LSU Tigers and Iowa State Cyclones meet at Fiserv Forum in the first round of the 2022 NCAA Tournament. We’ve got everything you need on both teams ahead of the game here.

The No. 6 seed LSU Tigers will go into their first game since head coach Will Wade was fired when they go up against No. 11 seed Iowa State Cyclones in the Midwest region on Friday, March 18th. The game will get started at 7:20 p.m. ET and can be seen on TBS with the Tigers as slight favorites.

No. 6 LSU: 22-11 (9-9 SEC): At-large

KenPom rating: 19 Overall, 89 Offense, 4 Defense
NET ranking: 18, (6-9 Vs. Quad 1)
Leading scorer: Tari Eason (16.9 ppg)
Key stat: In 2019, LSU advanced to the Sweet 16 without Will Wade when he was originally suspended.

The LSU Tigers fired Will Wade after a loss in the SEC Tournament quarterfinal round as the the university received a notice of allegations. Assistant Kevin Nickelberry will take over the rest of the season on an interim basis, and he has 12 years of head coaching experience with three seasons at Hampton and nine at Howard before being hired as an LSU assistant in 2019.

Watch for the Tigers to force plenty of turnovers as they lead the entire country in steals per game.

No. 11 Iowa State: 20-12 (7-11 Big 12): At-large

KenPom rating: 45 Overall, 151 Offense, 10 Defense
NET ranking: 49 (9-8 Vs. Quad 1)
Leading scorer: Izaiah Brockington (17.2 ppg)
Key stat: Izaiah Brockington shot just 26.1% from the floor in his final three games.

The Iowa State Cyclones are one of the most impressive stories of this year’s NCAA Tournament with an incredible turnaround in Year 1 under head coach TJ Otzelberger. Iowa State finished 2-22 last season including 0-18 in Big 12 play, and they’re heading into March Madness as a 20-game winner.

Watch for Iowa State to crash the boards hard offensively as they go up against an LSU defense that struggles to rebound.

Odds from DraftKings Sportsbook

Point spread: LSU -4
Point total: 128.5
Moneyline: LSU -190, Iowa State +160

The Pick

Against The Spread Pick: LSU -4
Point total pick: Under 128.5
Pick to Win: LSU

These are two very bad offenses and two of the top-10 defenses in all of college basketball according to KenPom’s adjusted efficiency. Run to your sportsbook and place the under no matter how low this total gets. LSU will be without their head coach but 33 games into a season, this team knows what they’re doing and will cover this spread.