NCAA Tournament: Auburn vs Jacksonville State 3/18/22 College Basketball Picks, Predictions, Odds

NCAA Tournament: Auburn vs Jacksonville State 3/18/22 College Basketball Picks, Predictions, Odds player photo
Credit: USA Today Sports

The Auburn Tigers and Jacksonville State Gamecocks meet Friday in NCAA Tournament First Round college basketball action from Bon Secours Wellness Arena. Jacksonville State is 21-10 overall this season. The Gamecocks lost to Jacksonville in their last game. As for Auburn, they’re 27-5 overall and coming off a loss to Texas A&M. Check back all season long for free college basketball picks at Sports Chat Place.

Jacksonville State got off to an iffy 5-6 start this year. The Gamecocks would rebound in the conference games however, with a 1-3 February run as their only sketchy spot. Jacksonville State was on a five-game win streak before falling to Jacksonville in their last outing. 

Back on March 5 versus Jacksonville, the Gamecocks scored just 18 points in the first half. Jacksonville State hit 33 points from there but still lost 54-51. The Gamecocks earned the automatic NCAA Tournament bid this year anyway however, due to Bellarmine’s ineligibility. 

Over on the Auburn side, they rolled to a 22-1 record by early February. The Tigers have gone just 5-4 since then, however. The losses during that time came to Arkansas, Florida and Tennessee, then to Texas A&M in the conference tournament. 

Last Friday versus the Aggies, the Tigers were in trouble with a 21-37 deficit after the first half. Auburn outscored Texas A&M 41-30 in the second but still lost 67-62. Jabari Smith led the team with his 17 points, nine boards and four assists. 

PICK: I’m going to stay with Auburn. The Tigers’ recent record doesn’t look all that great, but they’ve been highly competitive during this 5-4 run. Auburn’s four losses have each come by five points or fewer—all against some pretty darn good competition. 

As for Jacksonville State, they had a bad first half against Jacksonville in their last game and it may very well have caused them a conference championship. Still, the Gamecocks have generally done well lately; they’ve hit 69 points or more in five of the last six games. All things considered though, Auburn should be in the driver’s seat for the cover here. 

Andrew Jett's Free Pick:Auburn Tigers -16.5