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NCAA Tournament Round 2 Best Bets for Saturday

NCAA Tournament Round 2 Best Bets for Saturday

NCAA TOURNAMENT ROUND 2 BEST BETS FOR SATURDAY – The second round of the NCAA tournament arrives early this afternoon with a terrific slate of games, darling underdogs, and feisty favorites. While Friday gave us more fun winners (Yale; James Madison), the Saturday games should offer great value for some of the best teams in the country.

If you’re looking for NCAA Tournament Round 2 best bets for Saturday, then look no further than here. I’ve got you covered with the best value plays for this action-packed day of college basketball.

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No. 7 Dayton vs. No. 2 Arizona

Odds: Arizona -9; O/U 150

Dayton snuck past a formidable Nevada team after an absolute implosion on offense by the Wolfpack. Dayton should be feeling confident after a 20-2 run against Nevada in the second half, led by DoRan Holmes III and Koby Brea, sealed their fate and punched their ticket to the round of 32. If the Flyers can crash the boards like they did in the first round, they might be able to slow down this potent Wildcat offense and keep the game close.

#2 Arizona pounded #15 Long Beach State on the strength of a 20 point performance of Kylan Boswell. While Long Beach State held strong in the first half, the Arizona offense outpaced Long Beach in the second half to pull away and win by 20. Arizona is still one of the trendiest picks to come out of the West region, but can they get past Dayton?

The spread here reflects Dayton’s lackluster performance in the first half against Nevada in a game they should have lost. What surprised me about the come-from-behind win was the pace of play from the Flyers. They needed to score quickly and lock down on defense in order to win that game. Dayton plays at an incredibly slow pace and would prefer to eat clock on offense. They do have a terrific offensive squad, but a historically bad second half from Nevada enabled the Flyers to advance.

The Wildcats still rank as one of the most well-balanced teams in the country. They can beat you on offense, where they rank 9th in adjusted offensive efficiency (KenPom). Arizona can also shut you down on defense, where they rank 10th in adjusted defensive efficiency (KenPom). They play fast and score a ton. The only way they lose a game in the second round is if they go cold.

Considering Dayton’s adjusted defensive efficiency ranks 75th, according to KenPom, I think the Wildcats run away with this one. Dayton shouldn’t be in the second round and we’ll see that today.

Jack’s Pick: Arizona -9 and OVER 150 

No. 4 Kansas vs. No. 5 Gonzaga 

Odds: Gonzaga -4; O/U 152

At first glance, you might be wondering why Mark Few’s Gonzaga team is favored so heavily against the Jayhawks. The spread is reflected in Kansas’s slender win against Samford, where a missed call all but cost Samford a chance to upset Kansas.

The Jayhawks are hobbled with injuries and have struggled to play away from home this season. The entire country saw that on display Thursday and the line has adjusted with the expectations here.

Meanwhile, the Gonzaga Bulldogs sailed past McNeese State in the #5 vs. #12 matchup in the Midwest Region. Graham Ike scored 16 points and Anton Watson scored 13 points on 13 rebounds and nine assists. McNeese looked overmatched the entire game and, even though Gonzaga struggled some earlier in the season, Mark Few’s team looks poised for another deep tournament run.

I won’t even break out the metrics on this game, because there’s really no need to. If McNeese had somehow beaten Gonzaga (as many people thought they would), I would be banging the drum for the Jayhawks. However, Kansas hasn’t showed us much grit all year and their personnel is limited, as Senior Kevin McCullar, Jr. has been ruled out for the entirety of the tournament.

I’m surprised this line hasn’t ballooned to six. I’ll lay the points here.

Jack’s Pick: Gonzaga -4

No. 7 Washington State vs. No. 2 Iowa State

Odds: Iowa State – 6.5; O/U 129

Two more chalky teams face off this Saturday as the Iowa State Cyclones take on the Washington State Cougars in the East Region. ,

Washington State didn’t look so hot against a good Drake team in the first round. The Cougars shot 29% from the field in their unimpressive win and, if it weren’t for Drake’s worst free throw shooting performance of the season, Washington State might be watching this game at home today.

Still, this is March and one lives to survive. They’ll have their hands full with Iowa State this afternoon.

The Cyclones dominated #15 South Dakota State in the first round. They went on a big run to start each half and then relied on the best defense in the country to clamp down any hope the Jackrabbits might have had in that game. This teams looks locked in and could be the only team left in the East Region that has a puncher’s chance to take down the UConn Huskies.

Given Iowa State’s incredible defense and Washington State’s horrific night of shooting in the first round, my favorite play in this game is to play to the under. Washington State relies on defense and a slower pace to win games. The Cyclones play moderately fast, but don’t let anyone score. I know the under is a little low at 129 total points, but don’t be afraid of defensive basketball.

Shooters go cold in the tournament. Defenses stay hot.

Jack’s Pick: UNDER 129 Total Points

No. 11 NC State vs. No. 14. Oakland

Odds: NC State -6; O/U 147

No statistics, just vibes for this game. Here’s a fun trend: a fourteenth seed has never beaten an eleventh seed in the tournament. They’ve beaten plenty of six seeds, but never an eleventh. While Jack Gohlke and Greg Kampi could be the first to do it, I don’t see it happening here.

NC State has been on an even more impressive run than Oakland. I think the Wolfpack lock down Gohlke and are able to figure out that zone defense that Greg Kampi used to effectively to frustrate the Kentucky Wildcats.

Both of these teams are great stories, but I think Oakland loses its luster here and gets blown out by NC State.

Jack’s Pick: NC State -6

No. 3 Creighton vs. No. 11 Oregon

Odds: Creighton -4.5; O/U 146

No time for narrative here either. I wanted to throw one underdog on the card for you today and this is it. The Oregon Ducks have been playing terrific basketball and should be able to keep it close against Creighton.

While I see Creighton winning this game on the strength of their offense and their ability to shoot free throws, the Ducks will make things interesting for most of the game. I wish I could get six here, but the spread reflects the public’s confidence in Oregon. Have some fun with the Ducks and take the points.

Jack’s Pick: Oregon +4.5


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