First Four: What to know about Tuesday’s teams, matchups at UD Arena

The “Road to the Final Four” begins in Dayton once again as eight teams will be competing in the NCAA First Four games this week at UD Arena for a chance to advance into the 64-team tournament bracket.

ExplorePHOTOS: Practice at UD Arena for First Four games

Action begins Tuesday at 6:40 p.m. with a matchup between Texas A&M-Corpus Christi (23-11) and Texas Southern (18-12), followed by Wyoming against Indiana in the nightcap set to tip off at 9:10 p.m. Competition continues Wednesday when Wright State plays Bryant in the early game and Rutgers meets Notre Dame in the final matchup of the event.

UD Arena has hosted the NCAA March Madness tipoff every year since 2001 and the First Four since the tournament field expanded 2011.

Here is a look at all four teams that play Tuesday:

TEXAS A&M CORPUS CHRISTI (23-11) vs. TEXAS SOUTHERN (18-12)

When: 6:40 p.m. Tuesday

What’s next: The winner earns the No. 16 seed into the Midwest region and advances to play No. 1 Kansas at Thursday night in Fort Worth.

ABOUT TEXAS A&M CC

Notable: After splitting the regular-season series with Southeastern Louisiana, the Islanders took the game that mattered most. They knocked off the Lions to win the Southland Conference Tournament title and earn an automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament for just their second appearance (first since 2006-07). Led by first-year coach Steve Lutz, a career assistant who was last on the Purdue staff under Matt Painter, the Islanders had the oldest roster in the Southland and that experience could help them become a Cinderella candidate.

Scoring offense: 76.9 points per game

Scoring defense: 69.9 points per game

Last 10 games: 7-3 record

Key players: Forward Isaac Mushili (13.5 ppg, 9.5 rpg); Trevlan Tennyson (11.8 ppg, 1.6 rpg); Terrlon Murdix (9.8 ppg, 4.3 rpg, 3.8 assists); Simeon Fryer (8.4 ppg, 3.3 rpg); De’Lazarus Keys (7.8 ppg, 6.1 rpg); Myles Smith (7.3 ppg, 2.1 rpg); Jalen Jackson (6.6 ppg, 2.3 rpg, 3.2 apg)

ABOUT TEXAS SOUTHERN

Notable: The Tigers are in the NCAA Tournament for a second straight season after winning back-to-back SWAC Tournament titles, despite failing to win the regular-season title both times. They enter the Big Dance having won 13 of their last 15 games and seem to be firing on all cylinders with a well-rounded roster that featured no All-SWAC honorees but rates as the third-most experienced group in college basketball, according to KenPom. Texas Southern, led by fourth-year coach Johnny Jones, earned a notable non-conference road win at Florida this season, beating the Gators 69-54.

Scoring offense: 69.2 points per game

Scoring defense: 65.5 points per game

Last 10 games: 8-2 record

Key players: John Walker (9.9 points, 4.3 rebounds); Joirdon Karl Nicholas (9.2 ppg, 6.0 rpg); Bryson Etienne (8.5 ppg, 2.8 rpg); PJ Henry (8.3 ppg, 2.8 rpg); Brison Gresham (7.2 ppg, 6.8 rpg); Justin Hopkins (6.4 ppg, 2.1 rpg); A.J. Lawson (6.3 ppg, 3.3 rpg)

WYOMING (25-8) VS. INDIANA (20-13)

When: 9:10 p.m. Tuesday

What’s next: The winner earns the No. 12 seed into the East region bracket and advances to face St. Mary’s (25-7) on Thursday in Portland, Oregon.

ABOUT WYOMING

Notable: The Cowboys are enjoying their best season since 1952 and are back in the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 2015 and just the second time since 2002. Second-year coach Jeff Linder runs a style of offense unlike others in the sport, as he likens it to the Tennessee Titans’ “abusive, run-first, run-second philosophy” in the NFL, according to CBSSports.com. The Pokes use the post over and over, trying to wear down teams in the paint with forwards Graham Ike and Hunter Maldonado.

Scoring offense: 73 points per game

Scoring defense: 65.5 points per game

Last 10 games: 5-5 record

Key players: Graham Ike (19.6 points, 9.6 rebounds); Hunter Maldonado (18.4 ppg, 5.8 rpg, 6.3 assists); Drake Jeffries (10.5 ppg, 5.3 rpg); Jeremiah Oden (7.9 ppg, 4.6 rpg); Xavier Dusell (7.8 ppg, 2.4 rpg)

ABOUT INDIANA

Notable: The Hoosiers made tremendous progress in Mike Woodson’s first season as coach after he replaced former Dayton coach Archie Miller. Woodson has guided Indiana to its first NCAA Tournament appearance since 2016, earning one of the last two spots into the field of 68 after a semifinals run in the Big Ten Tournament. Star forward Trayce Jackson-Davis averaged 25.3 points over three games in the conference tournament, including a 31-point performance in a last-second loss to Iowa on Saturday.

Scoring offense: 71.5 points per game

Scoring defense: 65.9 points per game

Last 10 games: 4-6 record

Key players: Trayce Jackson-Davis (18.1 points, 8.2 rebounds, 2.4 blocks); Xavier Johnson (12.3 ppg, 3.8 rpg; 5.0 assists); Race Thompson (11.5 ppg, 7.6 rpg); Parker Stewart (6.4 ppg, 2.1 rpg); Miller Kopp (6.3 ppg, 2.6 rpg)

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