The First Four wraps up on Wednesday night. The first game will see Fairleigh Dickinson (19-15) take on Texas Southern (14-20) at 6:30 ET on Tru TV.
The Fairleigh Dickinson Knights (19-15) punched their ticket to the dance in a unique way. The Knights lost to Merrimack in the Northeast Conference championship game but advanced to the tournament anyway because Merrimack is ineligible. It is the seventh NCAA tournament appearance for the program.
Texas Southern (14-20) made a miraculous run to win the Southwestern Athletic Conference tournament. The Tigers have the most losses by an automatic qualifying team in NCAA tournament history. It is the third straight tournament appearance for the program.
The winner will take on No. 1 seed Purdue (29-5) in the first round of the East region on Friday in Columbus, Ohio.
Fairleigh Dickinson will look to dominate the perimeter in this one. The Knights ranked fourth in their conference with a 3-point percentage at 34.6%. The team can get up and down the floor, averaging 77.8 points per game.
They are led by senior Demetre Roberts, who averages 16.7 ppg. Roberts will need to come up big in a likely close battle.
Texas Southern has struggled against winning teams this season. The Tigers are 5-10 against teams with a winning record.
They come into this one with confidence though after winning three straight games in the conference tournament.
Sophomore Davon Barnes is the leading scorer for the Tigers (13.6 ppg).
Texas Southern is coached by former LSU coach Johnny Jones, who had Ben Simmons in his one season in Baton Rouge. Jones was also a long-time assistant coach under Dale Brown and, thus, coached Shaquille O'Neal in college. O'Neal's son, Shaqir, is a redshirt sophomore forward.
Spread: Texas Southern (-2)
Total (O/U): 147.5
Moneyline: Texas Southern -145 vs. FDU +125
The Tigers' record is a bit skewed after playing a brutal nonconference slate. They beat Arizona State in overtime in November. The experience will mean the Tigers will not be scared of the big moment. TSU has slayed some giants in the past two seasons, winning at No. 20 Florida last season and beating No. 16 Mount St. Mary's in the Tigers' 2020-21 season opener.
Texas Southern’s hot streak continues, and they will advance to play Purdue.
Texas Southern 71, FDU 69