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No. 5 San Diego vs. No. 12 Charleston preview for March Madness First Round matchup

No. 5 San Diego and No. 12 Charleston face off in the First Round of the 2023 NCAA tournament. We’ve got an initial preview of the game and how to watch.

Matt Bradley #20 of the San Diego State Aztecs brings the ball up court against the Utah State Aggies during the second half of the championship game in the Mountain West Conference basketball tournament at the Thomas & Mack Center on March 11, 2023 in Las Vegas, Nevada. The Aztecs defeated the Aggies 62-57. Photo by David Becker/Getty Images

The NCAA Tournament begins on Tuesday, March 14th with the First Four, and then moves on to the First Round on Thursday, March 16 and Friday, March 17. The No. 5 seed San Diego State Aztecs will face the No. 12 seed Charleston Cougars on Thursday, March 16.

Here’s an early look at what we can expect from the matchup.

Once 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: Thursday, March 16
Game time: 3:10 p.m. ET
TV channel: truTV
Location: Orlando, FL

Odds: San Diego State -4.5

No. 5 San Diego State

San Diego State was once again the toast of the Mountain West after cruising to a 15-3 conference record. The Aztecs do all the little things right: they rank in the top 40 in the nation in points allowed per game (64.7) as well as rebound differential (+4.6 per game). They will have to rely on those strengths and their incredible depth if they want to make a deep run in March Madness.

You may not find a team in the country that utilizes more players than SDSU. Eight players average 20+ minutes per game and 10 players average 10+ minutes. Nobody on the team averages more than 27.4 minutes. That means fresh legs and a variety of possible lineup combinations in crunch time, which could very well prove the difference in close tournament games.

Record: 26-6, 15-3 MWC

Coach: Brian Dutcher

Qualifier: Automatic Bid

KenPom overall: 14

KenPom adjusted offensive efficiency: 64

KenPom adjusted defensive efficiency: 10

Pace: 252

PPP overall: 1.043

Leading scorer: XX

NET: 14

Quad 1 record: 5-5

Against The Spread: 15-15-2

Over Total: 14-18-0

No. 12 Charleston

The College of Charleston Cougars will enter the NCAA Tournament riding a 10-game winning streak — including a 77-72 win over the Towson Tigers in the CAA Championship game. Charleston was good enough to be in bubble consideration down the stretch, but the Cougars won’t be forced to sweat Selection Sunday with an automatic bid in hand.

Charleston is not particularly elite or awful on either end of the floor, according to KenPom adjusted efficiency. Thanks to a very balanced team with a deep rotation, six players average at least nine points per game. Senior Dalton Bolon is the team’s leading scorer with 12.3 points per game despite being held scoreless in the conference title game. The Cougars ranked first in the CAA with 80.8 points per game.

Record: 30-3, 16-2 CAA

Coach: Pat Kelsey

Qualifier: Automatic

KenPom overall: 74

KenPom adjusted offensive efficiency: 70

KenPom adjusted defensive efficiency: 74

Pace: 29

PPP overall: 1.101

Leading scorer: Dalton Bolon

NET: 51

Quad 1 record: 0-1

Against The Spread: 20-12-1

Over Total: 13-18-2