Now that the 2022 NCAA Tournament is through the first two days, we should be in for a solid Second Round as well. No. 7 Murray State beat No. 10 San Francisco 92-87 in overtime in their first game, and the No. 15 Saint Peter’s had the upset of the first round taking down No. 2 Kentucky, 85-79. The Racers and the Peacocks match up with a spot in the Sweet Sixteen on the line.
Tipoff for this game is set for 7:45 p.m. ET from the Gainbridge Fieldhouse in Indianapolis, Indiana. It will air on CBS. Murray State is the 8.5-point favorite at DraftKings Sportsbook.
No. 7 Murray State: 30-2 (18-0 OVC): Auto Bid
First round result: Won 92-87 over San Francisco in overtime
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.
Murray State had the edge over San Francisco in rebounding, assists and shooting percentage. The Racers out-rebounded the Dons 43-35, but they had a 32-26 advantage on defensive rebounds. Murray State’s 17 assists were able to set up shooters which resulted in them hitting 48.4% of their shots from the field.
The Racers had five players score double-digit points in the round one win. Forward KJ Williams led the team with 18 points and added seven rebounds. Teammate Tevin Brown had 17 points and eight rebounds to help the Racers outlast the Dons in overtime.
The rebounding advantage shouldn’t be a surprise for Murray State. They’re bringing in 35.3% of their potential offensive rebounds which is the 12th most among Division 1 teams. They can’t look past Saint Peter’s, but they should have an advantage on the glass.
No. 15 Saint Peter’s: 19-11 (14-6 MAAC): Auto Bid
First round result: Won 85-79 over Kentucky
KenPom rating: 118 Overall, 259 Offense, 34 Defense
NET ranking: 124 (0-3 VS Quad 1)
Leading scorer: Daryl Banks III (11 ppg)
Key stat: Saint Peter’s led the MAAC in opponent 3-point shooting percentage.
Saint Peter’s won their first round game because they were able to compete with Kentucky on rebounds while outshooting the favorites as well. The Peacocks had 36 boards to Kentucky’s 35, but had the 14-8 edge for offensive rebounds. They shot 50.9% from the field and 52.9% from three. They held Kentucky to 26.7% shooting from three.
The guard duo of Daryl Banks III and Doug Edert combined for 47 points and were a problem Kentucky couldn’t solve. Each player also added four rebounds and two assists to their stat line. They went a combined 7-10 from three.
Look for the Peacocks to lean on the long ball again in this matchup. They are connecting on 35.4% of their three-point shots which ranks 75th among 358 qualified teams. Murray State is holding opponents to 29.8% shooting from three so the game will likely be decided on the battle around the perimeter.
Odds from DraftKings Sportsbook
Point spread: Murray State -8.5
Point total: 130
Moneyline: Saint Peter’s +310, Murray State -410
Against The Spread Pick: Saint Peter’s +8.5
Point total pick: Over 130
Pick to Win: Murray State
The Peacocks have shown that they can bury shots from deep and convert chances closer to the basket as well as anyone in the tournament field. I think their shooting prowess will keep them in this game until the end. Murray State has the size and tenacity to get after missed shots though and they will control the tempo of the game. The Racers should still dominate the boards and this advantage will give them the narrow victory.
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