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No. 4 Purdue vs. No. 13 North Texas preview, picks for first round of 2021 NCAA Tournament

The Purdue Boilermakers and North Texas Mean Green meet at Lucas Oil Stadium in the first round of the 2021 NCAA Tournament. We’ve got everything you need on both teams ahead of the game here.

Is Purdue an easy cover in the first round?

Update March 19: Here are the updated bet splits for No. 4 Purdue vs. No. 13 North Texas as of March 19th at 7 a.m. from DraftKings Sportsbook:

Purdue -7: 23% of action, 22% of bets
North Texas +7: 77% of action, 78% of bets

Over 126: 55% of action, 78% of bets
Under 126: 45% of action, 22% of bets


Update March 18: Here are the updated bet splits for No. 4 Purdue vs. No. 13 North Texas as of March 18th at 1:30 p.m. from DraftKings Sportsbook:

Purdue: -7.5: 82% of action, 85% of bets
North Texas: +7.5: 18% of action, 15% of bets

Over 126.5: 56% of action, 84% of bets
Under 126.5: 44% of action, 16% of bets


Update March 17: Here are the updated bet splits for Purdue vs. North Texas as of March 17th at 11:00 a.m. from DraftKings Sportsbook:

Purdue -7.5: 78% of handle, 80% of bets
North Texas +7.5: 22% of handle, 20% of bets
Over 126.5: 72% of handle, 86% of bets
Under 126.5: 28% of handle, 14% of bets


After surviving a rigorous Big Ten slate, the fourth-seeded Purdue Boilermakers enter the South Region with a potential defensive slugfest on their hands when meeting the 13-seed Conference USA champion North Texas Mean Green at 7:25 p.m. ET.

The game will be broadcasted on TNT with the home-state Boilermakers entering as a 7.5-point favorite.

No. 4 Purdue: 18-9 (13-6 Big Ten): At-large

KenPom rating: Overall: 13, Offense 23, Defense 23
NET ranking: 22nd, 6-7 vs. Quad 1
Leading scorer: Trevion Williams (15.6 ppg)
Key stat: Limited Big Ten opponents to just 65.4 points on 23.3 shots per game.

Purdue held their own in a tough Big Ten gauntlet throughout the regular season, finishing with a respectable 13-6 mark in conference play before getting bounced by Ohio State in the conference tournament. That came after the Trevion Williams-led Boilermakers swept the Buckeyes in the regular season, supplementing that with a late victory over Wisconsin on March 2nd.

Purdue has posed as one of the stingier defensive units in the league, limiting shot attempts at the charity stripe.

No. 13 North Texas: 17-9 (9-5 C-USA): Automatic Bid

KenPom rating: Overall 71, Offense 119, Defense 42
NET ranking: 59, 0-3 vs. Quad 1
Leading scorer: Javion Hamlet (14.9 ppg)
Key stat: 20th nationally in defensive effective FG percentage (45.7%).

North Texas was able to shake off a three-game losing streak to the regular season by rattling off a quartet of victories in the Conference USA Tournament to punch their ticket to Indianapolis. Grant McCasland’s Mean Green did hold their own in conference play but fell short in all three of their respective Quad 1 games against Arkansas, Mississippi State and West Virginia by an average of 11 points.

North Texas tends to limit opposing offenses, giving up only 61.2 points per game, good for 10th in the nation.

March Madness Odds from DraftKings Sportsbook

Point Spread: Purdue -7.5
Total: 126.5
Moneyline: Purdue -360, North Texas +280

The Pick

Against The Spread Pick: Purdue -7.5
Point total pick: Over 126.5
Pick to Win: Purdue

Expect defense to be the story of this game and the factor that will have the Boilermakers late. Both teams should do enough to trigger the over, but Purdue eventually pulls away just enough to cover here.

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