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    NCAA Tournament East Region: No. 10 Drake vs. No. 7 Washington State March Madness Preview and Prediction

    A preview and prediction for Drake vs. Washington State in the first round of the 2024 NCAA Tournament.

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    Drake vs. Washington State March Madness Preview and Prediction

    In the No. 10 vs. No. 7 matchup in the NCAA Tournament East Region, the Drake Bulldogs face the Washington State Cougars in first-round action.

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    How to Watch Drake vs. Washington State

    When: 10:05 pm ET on Thursday, March 21st

    Where: CHI Health Center in Omaha, Nebraska

    Watch: TruTV

    Odds for Drake vs. Washington State

    (odds current at time of publish)

    Spread: Washington State -1.5

    Total: 138.5

    DraftKings Betting Splits | Live College Basketball Odds | Drake vs. Washington State Matchup

    East Region No. 10 Drake Bulldogs

    Drake was a few minutes away from beating Miami in its first game in the tournament last year. That Hurricanes team went on to make the Final Four, which says a lot about the Missouri Valley Conference champs. Well, Darian DeVries has his team back in the dance, and this year’s group is even better. The Bulldogs are a top-40 team on offense and borderline top-75 team on defense. They can also shoot the heck out of the ball, which isn’t surprising considering Tucker DeVries is still on the squad. DeVries is an absolute sniper from deep, but he’s also a good all-around scorer. The 6-foot-7 senior also happens to be a good playmaker and rebounder, and he has the potential to carry Drake to a win over high-major talent.

    East Region No. 7 Washington State Cougars

    Washington State didn’t look like much through the first few months of the season. But the Cougars turned it on in Pac-12 play, and a road win over Arizona to sweep the season series solidified their spot in this tournament. Washington State’s duo of Isaac Jones and Myles Rice will be dangerous. Jones is a guy that scores, rebounds and protects the rim. He was one of the best players in the Big Sky for Idaho last year, and his production has translated in a big way. Meanwhile, Rice leaves a lot to be desired as a shooter, but he can get himself to the basket to make plays for himself and teammates. And he’s a nice tone setter on the defensive end. Overall, the Cougars are a team that can be tough as nails. They defend hard and work the glass relentlessly. But winning rock fights every night isn’t easy. Washington State will need to shoot the 3 better than it normally does to make a run.

    Drake vs. Washington State Preview & Prediction

    One of the most compelling first-round games is this matchup between Drake and Washington State. Drake was one of the top offensive mid-major teams and they actually went 4-1 in Quadrant 1 games, including the win over Indiana State in the Missouri Valley Tournament title game. The game ended 84-80, but it wasn’t nearly that close.

    Drake also had neutral-site wins by 20 over Akron and 19 over Nevada, so they’ve picked up some nice wins this season. Washington State has done that as well, including a sweep of Arizona during the regular season. In their last three losses, which date back to late January, they were 11-for-61 from 3, including the 4-for-19 performance against Colorado in the Pac-12 Tournament.

    Wazzu’s strength of schedule was about 35 spots higher than Drake’s per Ken Pomeroy, so maybe you weigh their metrics a little bit stronger. The Cougars were better on defense, including a top-30 ranking in adjusted defensive efficiency. The Bulldogs were legitimately good on offense with a top-60 mark per Bart Torvik and a top-40 mark per KenPom. Strength vs. strength.

    There are a couple of wild cards to this game. The first is that Drake takes a lot more 3s. Their 3P Rate was nearly 40%, while Wazzu’s was 32%. The second is that the Cougars play at a very slow tempo, while Drake is around the national average.

    Ultimately, I think Washington State’s advantages on the glass and better balance on offense and defense allow them to advance, but this should be an excellent 10/7 game between two very well-coached teams.

    Estimated Score: Washington State 70, Drake 69

    For expert predictions, go to our college basketball best bets page.

    Adam Burke
    Adam Burke
    Adam Burke is the Managing Editor of VSiN.com and has spent well over a decade in the sports betting content creation space. He has been with VSiN since 2021 and covers a wide range of sports, along with hosting the VSiN Daily Baseball Bets podcast.

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