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Branden Carlson #35 of the Utah Utes celebrates as we offer our best Utah vs. Indiana State expert pick and prediction for the NIT semifinal on Tuesday.
Branden Carlson #35 of the Utah Utes celebrates making a three point basket against the Brigham Young Cougars during the first half of their game at the Jon M Huntsman Center on December 9, 2023 in Salt Lake City, Utah. Photo by Chris Gardner/Getty Images via AFP.

The top-seeded Indiana State Sycamores face the second-seeded Utah Utes in Tuesday's NIT semifinal, and we're offering our Utah vs. Indiana State picks and best bet.

After getting left out of the 68-team field of the NCAA Tournament field, the No. 1 seed Indiana State Sycamores (31-6) and No. 2 seed Utah Utes (22-14) face off Tuesday in the Final Four of the NIT with a chance to clinch the first spot in the tournament final. That matchup tips off at 7 p.m. ET (ESPN) from Hinkle Fieldhouse in Indianapolis, Ind.

The Sycamores enter this semifinal showdown as a 2.5-point favorite (-110) across our best sports betting sites after narrowly escaping Cincinnati in the quarterfinals. They'll face a tough Utes team that blew out VCU by 20 points to set up Tuesday's clash that features skilled big men and a whole lot of capable scorers.

As part of our college basketball picks, and along with our Georgia vs. Seton Hall prediction and pick, here are our best Utah vs. Indiana State picks and best bets (odds via our best March Madness betting sites; pick confidence based on a 1-to-5-star scale).

Utah (2) vs. Indiana State (1) game info

  • When: Tuesday, April 2
  • Tip-off: 7 p.m. ET
  • Where: Hinkle Fieldhouse, Indianapolis, Ind.
  • How to watch: ESPN
  • Favorite: Indiana State -2.5 (-110 via FanDuel)

Utah vs. Indiana State odds

Utah vs. Indiana State prediction

Branden Carlson Over 15.5 points ⭐⭐⭐⭐

Best odds: -118 via FanDuel

When the Virginia Cavaliers were selected to the NCAA Tournament over Indiana State, college basketball purists across the country were robbed of the chance to see Sycamores star Robbie Avila become a viral sensation. The Indiana State big man is known for his patented goggles, his ability to stretch the floor, and his highlight reel passing skills. However, he's not the only skilled big suiting up in the NIT semifinal. 

Much like Indiana State, Utah's high scoring offense is led by its versatile big man. Utes center Branden Carlson doesn't just top the team in points per game (17.0), but he's second in 3-pointers made per game (1.8) and fourth in 3-point percentage (37.6%). The 7-foot, three-time All-Pac-12 center poses a unique challenge for the Sycamores.

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Indiana State head coach Josh Schertz wants to play fast and hang points - his team scores the seventh-most per game in the country (84.6) - but that's at the sacrifice of playing quality defense. The Sycamores are 109th in adjusted defensive efficiency, per KenPom, and allow 72.6 points per game.

They've especially had issues inside, as they allow the 66th-most 2-pointers per game in the country (19.8). With his size advantage, Carlson and his 57.2% shooting from inside the arc should give Avila and Co. trouble. The big is also skilled enough to create mismatches as a 3-point shooter against a defense that allows opponents to shoot 33.5% from deep.

Making it all that much sweeter is the value FanDuel is offering on this line - his point total is 16.5 at our other best sportsbooks. The -125 odds at DraftKings imply a 55.56% probability he'll hit 17 points, according to our odds calculator. However, we only need 16 points and our -118 odds would lead to a $8.47 profit on a $10 bet.

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Utah vs. Indiana State spread & Over/Under analysis

The Sycamores opened as 3.5-point favorites across our best sports betting apps after their quarterfinal win over Cincinnati. However, there's been plenty of line movement with BetMGM still offering Indiana State -3.5 while FanDuel has come down to 2.5. The Sycamores are 21-14-1 ATS this season and while Utah is 19-17, it's covered in seven of its last nine.

The game total opened as high as 166 with both teams being known for their offense. It's since come down to 163.5 but could bounce back up to as high as 165.5 by tip-off. Indiana State is 21-15 betting the Over this season and has hit it in four of its last five. The Utes have seen similar success with the Over, going 19-16-1.

Utah-Indiana State prediction made Monday at 1:00 p.m. ET.

Here are our best March Madness betting sites:

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