The NCAA Tournament begins on Thursday, March 18th with the First Four, and then moves on to the first round on Friday, March 15 and Saturday, March 16. The No. 7 seed Clemson Tigers will face the No. 10 seed Rutgers Scarlet Knights in the first round. Game time has yet to be announced but we will update this article with that and game odds as soon as it comes available. For now, we’ve got a preliminary preview of the two teams to get you ready for March Madness!
Once the 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: Friday, March 19
Game time: 9:20 p.m. ET
TV channel: TBS
Location: Bankers Life Fieldhouse
No. 7 Clemson
The Clemson Tigers finished the regular-season well, winning six of their last seven games before heading into the ACC Tournament. But thanks to a tough stretch of four losses in five games in the middle of the season, they finished fifth place in the ACC.
The Tigers are primarily built on defense, and have the 15th best defensive-efficiency ranking in the nation according to KenPom and allow just 61 points per game. On the other side of the floor, they’re not going to beat the brakes off their opponent. Aamir Sims is leading the team, scoring 13.1 points per game. He’s the only player on the team averaging in double figures and they’re scoring just 65 points per game. So there’s not a big margin for error.
Record: 16-7, 10-6 SEC
KenPom adjusted offensive efficiency: 99
KenPom adjusted defensive efficiency: 19
Over Total: 12-11
Odds to win NCAA Championship: +7000
No. 10 Rutgers
The Scarlet Knights appear in their first NCAA Tournament for the first time since 1991. Rutgers actually made the Final Four in Philadelphia in 1976, and fell in the third-place game to UCLA. It’s been a long journey back in Piscataway, but a top 20 defense in adjusted efficiency is the key to a team led by senior Jacob Young. Any team that can finish .500 in what was the toughest league in America will be a tough out in The Big Dance.
Record: 15-11, 10-10 Big Ten
KenPom Offense: 75
KenPom Defense: 18
Over total: 12-13-1
Odds to win NCAA Championship: N/A