The best two days of the year are here for sports fans the 2023 NCAA tournament has arrived, with first round games beginning on Thursday, March 16. Let’s take a look at some of the teams everyone loves heading into the action.
There are 16 games each day, and while everyone wants a perfect bracket, finding which teams are the best to spring an early upset is often the way to go here.
No. 12 VCU over No. 5 St. Mary’s
St. Mary’s is the favorite here, but the country seems to be loving the A-10 tournament champions as one of the usual 12 over-five upset picks. VCU is led by guard Adrian Baldwin Jr, and Michigan transfer forward Brandon Johns. As a team, they hold their opponents to only 62 points per game with some smothering defense.
The Rams have only allowed 80 points once all season, and most of their opponents stay within the 50 or 60-point range. St. Mary’s averages 71 points per game, but holds their opponents to 60 points per game. This should be a defensive battle that could come down to the last possessions.
A whopping 82% of the handle and 60% of the tickets at DraftKings Sportsbook are on the Rams to win outright.
No. 13 Kent State over No. 4 Indiana
Indiana is the favorite here over Kent State, but the public is putting some money into the underdog here. Kent State defeated top-seeded Toledo in the MAC tournament to reach the Big dance. Once again, Kent State has the veteran guard in play in Sincere Carry, who averages 17 points and 4.8 assists per game.
He could have the advantage over Indiana point guard Jalen Hood-Schifino who was the Big Ten Freshman of the year but is playing in his first tournament game. The one advantage Indiana has is their star Trayce Jackson-Davis, who averages 20 points and 10 boards per contest.
47% of the cash and 37% of the tickets are on the Golden Flashes to spring the upset.
No. 11 Pittsburgh over No. 6 Iowa State
The Panthers survived Dayton with a 60-59 win over Mississippi State closed in the last seconds, and now they get the Hawkeyes on Thursday. But Pitt clearly created some believers in the First Four, as their +150 dog price isn’t scaring off bettors in the slightest.
This game is a case of good-on-good, as Iowa State’s top-10 defense gets Pitt’s top-25 offense in terms of adjusted efficiency. Expect less elite play when Iowa State has possession however, as both teams have units well-below average for major conference squads on that side.
70% of the dollars and 47% of the wagers are on the Panthers in early trading.