Surely, day 2 of the NCAA Tournament will bring the same excitement and chaos as we saw on Thursday.
There are another 16 games to look forward to, with multiple DFS tournaments and formats to boot, leaving bettors with a bevy of wagering options. Fret not, as we’re breaking down our top and value plays from our daily projections for Friday’s main slate.
Be sure to check out some of our features, like our Lineup Optimizer allows you to create 300 lineups in seconds. You can also create an abundance of lineup-building rules to suit your playing style for the slates you’re playing.
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Now, let’s get into the slate!
March Madness CBB Guard Picks
Top Play: Jarkel Joiner ($8,200)
The North Carolina State Wolfpack is led by a pair of elite guards, Jarkel Joiner and Terquavion Smith. Although you wouldn’t be wrong for rostering either one, we give the edge to Joiner on Friday’s slate.
Joiner is within 0.4 points of Smith for the team lead in scoring; however, he has better secondary stats, averaging 4.8 rebounds and 3.7 assists. One of the main reasons we defer to Joiner in this situation is his proficiency from beyond the arc.
Joiner is scoring on 36.5% of his shots from distance. That’s contributing to a superior 43.4% field goal percentage compared to Smith’s benchmark of 37.7%. Lastly, Joiner has a 16.0% advantage over his teammate from the charity stripe, which could be an x-factor in pushing him over the edge.
The Wolfpack will be forced to keep pace with the Creighton Bluejays’ high-powered offense, and Joiner could be tasked with taking a bigger piece of the pie to help NC State stay in it.
Top Value: Kam Jones ($6,600)
You can’t talk about the Marquette Golden Eagles without mentioning Kam Jones. The sophomore leads the team in scoring, with solid complementary stats, but still comes into Friday’s slate with a reasonable $6,600 salary. That value isn’t worth passing up on the main slate.
Even on off nights, Jones has been an exceptional talent. The Tennessee native has hit double-digit scoring figures in six of his last seven, resulting in above-average fantasy performances. Across that seven-game sample, Jones is averaging 25.9 fantasy points per game, going north of 22.0 points in all but one of those contests.
Expect Marquette to push the pace against the defensively inept Vermont Catamounts. Vermont enters the tournament with the 153rd-ranked adjusted defense, per KenPom. Further, they’ve filled their schedule with mid-major programs, leaving them short on experience against one of the top teams in the country.
The Golden Eagles enter their opening-round matchup as -10.5 chalk with a total in the 140s. That’s a ripe opportunity, and we expect Jones to exceed his implied value.
March Madness CBB Forward Picks
Top Play: Nelly Junior Joseph ($7,900)
Irrespective of conference, 14 straight wins are nothing to shake a stick at. That’s the momentum the Iona Gaels bring into Friday’s contest against the Connecticut Huskies. Swingman Nelly Junior Joseph has been a star for the Gaels and should shine on the biggest stage.
The 6’9″ junior ranks third on the team in scoring but has been invaluable on the boards. Junior Joseph averages 9.4 rebounds per game, 3.6 of which come off the offensive glass. Combined with his 15.4 points per game, Junior Joseph is just a few rebounds shy of ending the season with a double-double.
Joseph’s fantasy value doesn’t end there. The Nigerian contributes 1.5 blocks, 1.2 steals, and 1.1 assists, making him a top-tier fantasy producer on both ends of the court. In total, Junior Joseph has exceeded 20 fantasy points in every game since the start of December, contributing to a 31.7 season-long average.
The Huskies will have to choose where to defend, and even with their best performers on the court, there’s no containing Junior Joseph.
Look for him to continue his reign of terror, giving Iona the best chance of advancing as underdogs.
Top Value: Mitchell Saxen ($5,800)
We are going way down the salary listings to bring you the top value from the forward group. Saint Mary’s Gaels’ center Mitchell Saxen has been a primary scoring option all season and will have plenty of chances against the undersized VCU Rams.
Saxen’s inclusion comes from a bit of a contrarian approach. The big man underperformed toward the end of the season, putting up below-average fantasy totals in five straight. Still, Saxen hit double-digit scoring in three of those matchups, averaging 14.7 fantasy points per game, and maintained his regular usage.
Saxen is a natural progression candidate. The center ran cold from the field, watching his shooting percentage dip below his benchmark of 54.6%. Those buckets should start to fall as his shooting percentage works back into the normal range.
VCU goes with a three-guard rotation, giving St. Mary’s an advantage in the paint. Look for Saxen to use his length inside and exploit those holes as he works back up to career norms.
March Madness CBB Flag Plant
Souley Boum ($7,300)
The Xavier Musketeers’ run through the Big East tournament came to an end in the final against the Golden Eagles. Souley Boum had an uncharacteristically bad outing, setting up Friday’s showdown against the Kennesaw State Owls as a good bounce-back spot.
Saturday’s performance notwithstanding, Boum has been outstanding throughout the season. The senior guard leads the team in scoring at 16.5 points per game and assists at 4.4 per game, adding a respectable 4.3 rebounds. More impressively, Boum has made his presence felt from downtown, recording a career-best 42.5% shooting percentage from range.
The Owls had a successful run through the Atlantic Sun season, but their defensive metrics don’t look great when adjusted for the opponent. According to KenPom, Kennesaw State enters the opening round with the 118th defensive rating, the 16th worst among all tournament teams. That will make it hard to contend with Xavier and its seventh-ranked offense. Boum will lead the charge for the Musketeers and will have plenty of court time to make amends for his diminished effort last time out.