Southeast Missouri State vs. Texas A&M-Corpus Christi March Madness First Four Betting Preview: 16-Seeds Battle to Face Alabama

profile image of Willie.Bee
Guard Ross Williams of Texas A&M-Corpus Christi dribbles against Arizona on December 13, 2022. Rebecca Noble/Getty Images/AFP

NCAAB Top Pick for Today

NCAAB Pick: SE Missouri State +4 (-105) at Bookmaker (visit our Bookmaker Review)

Bookmaker logo
SE Missouri State +4 (-105)
Visit Site

A chance to play the top seed in this year’s NCAA Tournament awaits the winner of the First Four collision between Southeast Missouri State and Texas A&M-Corpus Christi.

We have a free college basketball pick for the game that tips March Madness. 

Remember, fans from the Lone Star State who want to wager on this game should check out our top-rated Texas betting sites.

Southeast Missouri State Redhawks vs. Texas A&M-Corpus Christi Islanders 

Tuesday, March 14, 2023 – 06:40 PM EDT at UD Arena 

If Alabama is the top overall seed in the NCAA Tournament, then it stands to reason that Southeast Missouri State and Texas A&M-Corpus Christi are this year’s biggest Cinderellas since the winner of their First Four matchup will face the Crimson Tide come Thursday

The Redhawks and Islanders earned this trip to Dayton by winning their respective conference tournaments with impressive showings, SE Missouri State in the Ohio Valley and Texas A&M-CC in the Southland. 

Lofty Total to Tip Tourney 

It was a busy Sunday for oddsmakers at top sportsbooks who had to wait out the unveiling of the bracket before coming up with spreads and totals for the 68-team field. 

They settled on Texas A&M-Corpus Christi as the chalk, initially sending the Islanders out at -3 before early action pushed that to a 4-point spread. With both sides sporting ‘over’ tendencies, Tuesday’s total has been set at a robust 153 points. 

SEMO Blows Through OVC in 4 Days 

Brad Korn and the Redhawks became the first team to earn an automatic qualifier spot in the tournament when they won the Ohio Valley Conference Championship two weekends ago. Southeast Missouri State then sat around for eight long days to learn they would be heading to the First Four. 

As the No. 5 seed in the OVC and having just completed their first winning season since 2013-14, the Redhawks entered the league tournament as an afterthought thanks to losing five of their final seven games of the regular season. 

Everything clicked in Evansville, however, as Southeast Missouri State won and covered the first two games as the favorite before beating top-seed Morehead State and No. 2 seed Tennessee Tech as the underdog. 

Isles Lose Point Guard in Southland Championship 

Steve Lutz and the Islanders had an easier path to their second consecutive NCAA Tournament. Texas A&M-Corpus Christi won the regular season title in the Southland behind a high-scoring offense and earned a bye into the Southland Conference semis. 

After dispatching McNeese, the Islanders met Northwestern State in the championship game. They fell behind by 16 early in the first half before storming back to knot the score heading into intermission. 

Closing as 3-point chalk at Bookmaker, the Islanders broke a 52-all tie with 8:20 left and went on to a 75-71 final. The win was costly, however, as they lost Terrion Murdix (13.4 ppg), the team’s 3rd-leading scorer and point guard, to a season-ending knee injury. 

Redhawks & Islanders Collide for 1st Time 

Tuesday’s tip will mark the first time Southeast Missouri State and A&M-Corpus Christi have met. In fact, it’s somewhat rare for teams from the Ohio Valley and Southland Conferences to get together at all. 

The Islanders last faced an OVC squad back in November of 2016, hosting Tennessee Tech and falling 62-60 on a 3-pointer in the final 15 seconds. The Redhawks beat Incarnate Word on the road in November 2021, the first time they’d faced a current Southland team since 2014. 

Texas A&M-CC in First Four for the 2nd-Straight March 

Lutz and the Islanders were in a similar situation a year ago as a 16-seed in one of the First Four contests, falling to Texas Southern by a 76-67 count as 3½-point underdogs on the NCAAB odds. Texas A&M-CC led 61-60 with 5:32 to go before the Tigers closed on a 16-6 run. 

The Islanders’ only other NCAA Tournament appearance came in 2007 under head coach Ronnie Arrow, the first coach in the young program’s history, and they lost as a 15-seed to Wisconsin in what was then a 65-team field. 

Southeast Missouri State is going dancing for just the second time in school history, and the first time since the 1999-2000 campaign which was A&M-Corpus Christi’s first year at the D-I level. A 13-seed in a 64-team field, the Redhawks fell to No. 4 seed LSU, 64-61. 

Redhawks Advance to South Region 

Just about every metric out there shows the Islanders to be the better team, and I’m not going to dispute that other than to say they are definitely the better team when Murdix is on the floor directing the offense. 

It’s an absolute shame the senior guard won’t get to compete in this one, but sentimentality won’t change a thing when the Redhawks come away with the cover. 

NCAAB Pick: SE Missouri State +4 (-105) at Bookmaker 

*The line and/or odds on picks in this article might have moved since the content was commissioned. For updated line movements, visit BMR’s free betting odds product.