Indiana State at Iowa
7:00 ET, ESPN2
The Sycamores of Indiana State play in the very competitive Missouri Valley Conference and this season they came out with a 9-9 record, which was good for fifth place. Indiana State was briefly in contention for an at large bid, but it simply lost too many games to the non-elite teams in its conference. Still, there are a number of quality wins on the Sycamores' schedule. They've beaten Creighton, Wichita State, Ole Miss, and even Miami (FL). Iowa should win at home, but the 11-point spread seems too steep to cover.
One thing the Hawkeyes can do to help themselves is to keep Indiana State off of the free throw line. Per KenPom, the Sycamores are 29th in the country at free throw rate and their top player Jake Odum is a regular foul-drawing machine.
Western Illinois at Purdue
7:00 ET, AXS TV (hopefully you get this channel, Boiler fans, because I don't think I do)
Western Illinois ended the regular season tied atop The Summit League standings with NCAA-bound South Dakota State. However, the Leathernecks (I know, right?) were ousted in the conference tournament by North Dakota State and now are left to fend for themselves in the College Basketball Inviational.
I'm not sure what the exact qualifications are to be selected into the CBI, but apparently a winning record is optional. Purdue finished the regular season 15-17 but still should be very competitive in a field filled with mid-major schools (and Texas).
Like Indiana State, Western Illinois has excelled at getting to the free throw line, but this is a team that has depended on its strong defense to stymie conference opponents. Unlike Indiana State, the Leathernecks do not have many impressive victories to their name. With Purdue playing some of its best basketball at the end of the season, I expect Matt Painter's squad to cover the 12-point spread.