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Indiana Hoosiers vs Saint Mary’s Gaels Betting Preview

March Madness is set to get underway Thursday as the field of 64 kicks off. In the East region, one of the most fascinating games features the No. 12 Indiana Hoosiers (21-13), taking on the No. 5 St. Mary’s Gaels (25-7).

This game will be played at the Moda Center, with tipoff set for 7:20 pm ET.

Indiana has technically already played in this tournament as they were one of the “First Four” games. They beat No. 12 Wyoming 66-58 on Tuesday.

In the win, Trayce Jackson-Davis had a game-high 29 points to go along with nine rebounds. Jordan Geronimo added 15, while Xavier Johnson had 10.

For Saint Mary’s, they are trying to bounce back from an 82-69 loss to Gonzaga in the West Coast Conference tournament championship. In the loss, Logan Johnson had 21 points, but it wasn’t enough to keep up with Gonzaga.

Saint Mary’s are the favorite in this one. They are -140 to win while the Hoosiers’ moneyline sits at +116. The spread features Indiana +2.5 (-110), and the over/under for total points is 126.5.

More Odds

In terms of winning the East Region, Saint Mary’s has the sixth-best odds at +2300. Indiana surprisingly comes in with the ninth-best odds at +2700.

Saint Mary’s is +12000 to win the National Championship while Indiana is +17000 to win it all.

By The Numbers

Indiana had the better of the two offenses this season. They rank 143rd in scoring, averaging 71.3 points per game. Saint Mary’s ranks 189th averaging 69.5 points.

Defensively, it is Saint Mary’s with the advantage. The Gaels rank 13th in the nation in scoring defense, allowing opponents just 61.2 points per game. The Hoosiers rank 58th allowing 65.7 points.

Indiana Looks To Carry Momentum Into Thursday’s Game

Over the last three games, the Indiana Hoosiers have been playing some good ball, and they hope to carry that into Tuesday’s matchup. In that span, they took down the top-seeded Illini in the Big Ten conference, lost by just three to the eventual Big Ten champion Iowa Hawkeyes, and they beat Wyoming by eight in the play-in.

Leading Indiana’s offense is sophomore forward Trayce Jackson-Davis. On the season, he is averaging 18.4 points on 59.1% shooting. He is also averaging 8.2 rebounds, 1.9 assists, and 2.4 blocks per game.

The Hoosiers have two others averaging double digits in Xavier Johnson (12.2 points, 3.8 rebounds, 5.1 assists, 1.2 steals) and Race Thompson (11.3 points, 7.6 rebounds). The problem is that they don’t have a ton of depth, as their next highest scorer is averaging just 6.3 points.

Gaels Rely On Defense To Get It Done

The Gaels had a really strong season, finishing 25-7 overall and 12-3 in the conference. With one of the best defenses in the nation, they will try to shut down the Hoosiers on Thursday and move into the weekend with a matchup against the winner of UCLA and Akron.

While Saint Mary’s isn’t known for their offense, they still have some players capable of putting some points on the board.

Forward Matthias Tass and guard Tommy Kuhse led the Gaels in scoring this season. Tass averaged 12.6 points, six rebounds, and two assists, while Kuhse averaged 12 points, 3.8 rebounds, and 3.6 assists.

Other contributors for Saint Mary’s include Logan Johnson (11.5 points, four rebounds, 2.6 assists, two steals) and Alex Ducas (10.2 points, 3.7 rebounds).

Take The Hoosiers To Cover

Sometimes the NCAA tournament is about finding the most value, and there is plenty of it with Indiana in this one. They are 7-1 in their last eight games against the spread and 5-0 in their last five.

Additionally, they are playing good ball coming into this, and Trayce Jackson-Davis has the ability to find holes in the Gaels’ defense.

Expect this one to be close throughout, and for that reason, take Indiana and the points.

Take the Hoosiers +2.5.

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