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No. 7 Murray State vs. No. 10 San Francisco: Preview, picks for first round of 2022 NCAA Tournament

The Murray State Racers and San Francisco Dons meet at Gainbridge Fieldhouse in the first round of the 2022 NCAA Tournament. We’ve got everything you need on both teams ahead of the game here.

The No. 7 Murray State Racers have become regulars in the NCAA Tournament in recent years, and they will get a first round matchup with the No. 10 San Francisco Dons, who hasn’t been in this position in 24 seasons. The two will take the floor on Thursday, March 17th at 9:40 p.m. ET in a matchup that can be seen on CBS, and oddsmakers suggest this one should come down to the final minutes.

No. 7 Murray State: 30-2 (18-0 OVC): Auto Bid

KenPom rating: 27 Overall, 35 Offense, 40 Defense
NET ranking: 21, (2-1 VS Quad 1)
Leading scorer: KJ Williams (18.2 ppg)
Key stat: Murray State had an average scoring margin of 17 points per game.

The Murray State Racers reached the NCAA Tournament as a the champion of the Ohio Valley Conference, but they would’ve been easily in the field regardless. They ran through the entire conference slate including the conference tournament unbeaten, and the Racers are on a 20-game winning streak heading into Thursday night. Watch for Murray State to attack the glass as they have an 8.2 rebounding margin edge this season.

No. 10 San Francisco: 24-9 (10-6 WCC): At-Large

KenPom rating: 21 Overall, 45 Offense, 19 Defense
NET ranking: 22 (4-6 VS Quad 1)
Leading scorer: Jamaree Bouyea (16.7 ppg)
Key stat: Julian Rishwain was ranked fifth in the conference with a 44.6 three-point shooting percentage.

The San Francisco Dons lost to the Gonzaga Bulldogs by 10 points in the semifinal round of the West Coast Conference tournament, but they did enough to earn an at-large selection. Watch for San Francisco to try and steal some possessions as they rank No. 3 in their conference in forcing turnovers.

Odds from DraftKings Sportsbook

Point spread: Murray State -1.5
Point total: 136.5
Moneyline: Murray State -120, San Francisco +100

The Pick

Against The Spread Pick: San Francisco +1.5
Point total pick: Under 136.5
Pick to Win: San Francisco

The Dons haven’t been in the NCAA Tournament in the 21st century, and they’ll pull off a slight upset in the first round. San Francisco is allowing teams to shoot just under 30% shooting from the three-point line, and the long ball is a strength for Murray State. When you combine that and the pace at which the Racers play, this one is going under too.

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