SMU vs. Indiana State Prediction, Odds and Key Players for NIT First Round (Lay the Points)

College basketball betting preview, prediction and best bet for SMU-Indiana State.

Mar 9, 2024; St. Louis, MO, USA;  Indiana State Sycamores center Robbie Avila (21) shoots against Northern Iowa.
Mar 9, 2024; St. Louis, MO, USA; Indiana State Sycamores center Robbie Avila (21) shoots against Northern Iowa. / Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports
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Indiana State was one of the many Selection Sunday snubs and the Sycamores will look to prove the committee wrong in the NIT opener Wednesday night against SMU. 

Indiana State was approaching 30 wins on the year, but lost out on an automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament after a loss to Drake in the MVC Tournament March 10. They were, however, picked as a No. 1 seed for the NIT and they open the event as modest favorites against SMU, one of the last teams in the field after double-digit losses. 

Here’s the betting preview for the first-round matchup with a best bet. 

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SMU vs. Indiana State Odds, Spread and Total

SMU vs. Indiana State Betting Trends

  • SMU is 14-16-1 ATS this season
  • Indiana State is 19-13-1 ATS this season
  • SMU is 3-4 ATS as an underdog this season
  • Indiana State is 18-10-1 ATS as a favorite this season
  • The OVER is 13-18 in SMU games this season
  • The OVER is 19-14 in Indiana State games this season

SMU vs. Indiana State How to Watch

  • Date: Wednesday, March 20 
  • Game time: 7 p.m. EST
  • Venue: Hulman Center
  • How to watch (TV): ESPN+
  • SMU record: 20-12
  • Indiana State record: 28-6

SMU vs. Indiana State Key Players to Watch

SMU

Zhuric Phelps: The leading scorer on a struggling offense, Phelps, a 6-foot-5 junior guard, is averaging 14.7 points per game but has suffered through season-long struggles shooting the rock. Phelps is shooting just 38.6% from the field this season and has not eclipsed 40% shooting in six consecutive contests. He went just 3-for-11 from the field in SMU’s 75-60 loss to Temple in the second round of the AAC Tournament. 

Indiana State 

Robbie Avila: Fans were excited to see Avila, a 6-foot-10 sophomore center, in the NCAA Tournament. Instead, they’ll have to tune into ESPN+ on Wednesday night to see Avila orchestrate one of the nation’s top offenses. Avila averages 17.5 points, 6.6 rebounds and 3.8 assists per game while shooting nearly 55% from the field. 

SMU vs. Indiana State Prediction and Pick 

For a smaller school like Indiana State, the NIT means just a bit more and the Sycamores will be motivated to succeed in the postseason in Terre Haute Wednesday night. 

It’s strength-on-strength in this matchup as SMU’s defense, which is No. 56 in KenPom in efficiency and No. 22 in effective shooting percentage, tries to slow down one of the most electrifying offenses in the country.

Overall, Indiana State has too much firepower behind Avila. The Sycamore are No. 1 in KenPom in effective field goal percentage and can light it up from the perimeter (No. 11 in 3s) or from inside the arc (No. 1 in 2-point shooting). They also take advantage from the charity stripe, knocking down free throws at the No. 3 rate in the country. 

SMU’s offense, which was No. 11 in the AAC in effective field goal percentage, has below-average shooting metrics. The Mustangs do crash the glass effectively, ranking No. 5 in offensive rebounding percentage, but Indiana State is No. 5 on the defensive glass.

Indiana State uses its March Madness snub as fuel for an NIT run, which starts by pulling away from an SMU team that has lost five of its last six games. Lay the points. 

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Game odds update periodically and are subject to change.