The Buckeye State is hosting ten games in one of basketball’s premier events this week and weekend across the ‘First Four’ play-in games in Dayton.
One-half of the East bracket in the first and second rounds of the tournament itself will also take place in Ohio at Nationwide Arena in Columbus.
The action will kick off at 6:40 pm EDT Tuesday with a pair of sixteen seeds, the Texas A&M Corpus Christi Islanders and the Southeast Missouri State Redhawks, teeing off to punch an official ticket to the dance.
Of the sixteen teams playing for a chance at basketball immortality in Ohio this weekend, the sportsbooks generally like Purdue (at or around +1000, the third-best odds in the entire league) to win it all this season. As the one seed in the East region, that’s no surprise, but the Boilermakers have struggled lately. Make sure to place your bets with Ohio’s Tipico Sportsbook for your chance at winning big this Spring.
Something to keep in mind for Ohio sports fans thinking about making the trip to Dayton or Columbus this week: with games beginning one after the other in quick succession, tickets purchased will get you into both games, a playoff doubleheader for the price of one.
Here’s a look at the field as March Madness starts up, listing in order of descending seeds (seed listings are per the bracket, not the AP Poll).
No. 1 Purdue will play the winner of Wednesday’s game between No. 16 Texas Southern and No. 11 Farleigh Dickinson. Texas Southern suffered to a 14-20 record this season but went on a Cinderella run to win the SWAC Championship and earn an automatic bid. Can the Knights keep the magic going? They’re listed as slight favorites (-2.5) over FDU in the play-in.
Purdue’s line could waver a bit depending on who advances but expect the Boilermakers to be overwhelming favorites nonetheless.
No. 2 Marquette will face off against No. 15 Vermont. The Golden Eagles (-10.5) are heavy favorites over the Catamounts, -650, to advance to the Round of 32.
No. 7 Michigan State is slated against No. 10 USC, the SoCal team paradoxically placed in the East portion of the bracket.
The No. 8 Memphis Tigers will face the No. 9 FAU Owls. Memphis (-145) is a modest favorite to continue their run.
While the other three play-in games will take place in Dayton, the winners of those contests will have a longer trip to make to their respective bracket hubs.
Alabama is the No. 1 seed in the South bracket, and the winner between the Islanders and Redhawks will head to Birmingham to face the Crimson Tide: the Islanders are a four-point favorite as of now.
The other Tuesday night game is between a pair of potential No. 11 seeds, Pittsburgh and Mississippi State. The Panthers are another Cinderella story this season, picked to finish in the bottom of the ACC before finishing third in the conference. They stumbled to close the season, losing a pair of games that gave them a chance to clinch a share of the regular season conference title, but it’ll be interesting to see whether Jeff Capel’s team can rebound. The winner will face No. 6 Iowa State in Greensboro as part of the Midwest region, with the Bulldogs a 1.5-point favorite to advance.
Another pair of eleven seeds, Arizona State and Nevada, round out the field in the First Four. It is a slight favorite (-1) to move on to face the West’s No. 6 TCU at Denver’s Ball Arena.
Featured Image: ---