The NCAA Tournament continues with a full four-game slate on Friday, March 24 — the second of two Sweet 16 March Madness DFS slates. This column will dive into each game and highlight the top March Madness DFS picks and value plays to target with the help of Stokastic’s CBB DFS projections.
March Madness DFS Picks | Sweet 16
San Diego State vs. Alabama
Winner of the March Madness lottery, San Diego State defeated a pair of mid-majors in Charleston and Furman to reach the Sweet 16. Similarly, Alabama walked through their first-round matchup, before defeating Maryland in the second round. Currently, Alabama sits as a 7-point favorite in a game with a 137 total. This total is the lowest on the slate by a narrow margin.
On the San Diego State side, the Aztecs run a frustrating rotation, led by Matt Bradley ($5,900). While Bradley has not played more than 28 minutes this tournament, he easily leads the team in usage. His price has fallen to a point of consideration as well. Behind him, Lamont Butler ($5,700) has played 26, 30 and 29 minutes over the last three games. He accounts for a 10.2% shot rate, 10.3% rebound rate and 36.8% assist rate over the last three games, making him a contrarian pivot off Bradley. Darrion Trammell ($5,100) plays the next most consistent minutes and offers a decent 17.1% usage rate. Outside of him, players like Jaedon LeDee ($5,500), Nathan Mensah ($5,400) and Keshad Johnson ($5,000) simply don’t play enough or soak up enough usage to seriously consider at their prices. For the cheap players, Micah Parrish ($4,800), Adam Seiko ($3,200) and Aguek Arop ($4,400) will all play around 20 minutes. Very little separates them from LeDee, Mensah and Johnson, making them more efficient price plays. Seiko is particularly interesting on a poor value slate solely because he plays minutes at $3,200.
The Crimson Tide are led by Brandon Miller ($8,800), who continues to battle injury. With that said, Miller played 35 minutes through the injury in the Round of 32. With his price coming down, Miller offers an interesting contrarian play with elite usage due to the injury. Finally over his ACL injury, Jahvon Quinerly ($6,400) has worked his way into a 30-plus minute per game role. He only has an 11.5% shot rate and 22.6% assist rate on the year, but those numbers should soar in more competitive games. Forwards Noah Clowney ($6,500) and Charles Bediako ($6,300) both pop as solid price-adjusted plays. With that said, both have battled foul trouble recently, making them more volatile. However, they account for an 18.1% and 23.3% rebound rate over the last three games. Mark Sears ($5,800) rounds out the starting five but has begun ceding usage to the players around him. From there, Alabama runs a deep bench, but predicting the minutes can be tricky. Any of Jaden Bradley ($3,600), Rylan Griffen ($3,900) and Nimari Burnett ($3,500) have popped for 20 minute games randomly this year. Noah Gurley ($4,000) has a slightly clearer path to minutes if Bediako or Clowney foul. Ultimately, these are all GPP only punt plays.
Houston vs. Miami
After knocking off Northern Kentucky, Houston took care of business against Auburn to punch their ticket to the Sweet 16. On the other side, Miami squashed the doubters by beating popular upset picks in Drake and Indiana. Miami is a 7-point underdog to Houston in a game with a 138 total.
On the Houston side, the Cougars returned to their narrow rotation with a seemingly healthy Marcus Sasser ($8,000). Sasser played 31 minutes in Houston’s most recent game and looks likely to play through the injury moving forward. On the year, Sasser accounts for an elite 21.7% usage rate behind a 19.7% shot rate and 20.3% assist rate. At point guard, Jamal Shead ($7,500) accounts for a 15.9% shot rate and 36.9% assist rate. In the frontcourt, J’Wan Roberts ($7,900) and Jarace Walker ($7,500) will both play maximum minutes in competitive games. Roberts has a 20.1% rebound rate on the year, but his shot rate has also climbed above 14% in the last three games. Walker already has elite peripheral upside, but a 16.6% shot rate and 17.4% rebound rate give him the clearest path to a double-double. Tramon Mark ($6,900) rounds out the starting five as the glue guy. Mark popped for a 20% shot rate and 21% rebound rate over the last three games. This makes him a potential sell high, but Mark has also played 37, 35 and 34 minutes over the last three games. Emanuel Sharp ($4,100) or Reggie Chaney ($3,200) would be the beneficiaries of foul trouble to the starters depending on position. However, both will play around 10 minutes without any foul trouble.
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On the Miami side, the Hurricanes appear healthier as well. Wooga Poplar ($5,200) suffered an injury in the Round of 32, but he has since returned to practice. Prior to the injury, Poplar had played 27 and 30 minutes for Miami, providing solid usage across statistical categories. If given the green light, his price stands out here. The other Hurricane dealing with injury, Norchad Omier ($7,700) has returned to 26 and 36 minutes over the last two games. Omier accounts for a 14.8% shot rate and 28.6% rebound rate for Miami on the year. This gives him the best shot at a double-double, assuming health. From there, Miami has two other studs in Jordan Miller ($7,700) and Isaiah Wong ($7,300). Both will play every minute with elite usage. Miller accounts for a 19.2% shot rate, 19.4% rebound rate and 18.2% assist rate over the last three games. Wong accounts for a 19.7% shot rate, 15.5% rebound rate and 12.1% assist rate over the same span. Both are strong price-adjusted plays here. Finally, Nijel Pack ($6,000) rounds out the starting five. Pack routinely plays 30-plus minutes. However, he depends on his shot rate for a ceiling, making him volatile. Ultimately, Miami still faces an elite Houston defense with a bottom three implied team total on the slate. Limiting the number of Hurricanes in lineups makes sense. Lastly, Bensley Joseph ($4,300) would be the beneficiary if Poplar cannot give it a go.
Princeton vs. Creighton
A Sweet 16 shocker, Princeton defeated Arizona and Missouri to punch their ticket to the second weekend. Likewise, Creighton defeated two quality opponents in North Carolina State and Baylor to reach this point. As it stands, Creighton is a 10-point favorite over Princeton in a game with a 139 total.
On the Princeton side, Tosan Evbuomwan ($8,400) dominates the team’s usage. He has played 38, 36 and 38 minutes over the last three games, accounting for a 20.8% shot rate, 19.3% rebound rate and 36.1% assist rate in that span. Behind him, Princeton utilizes a few specialists in their tight rotation. Caden Pierce ($7,400) plays almost every minute, but he relies on his rebound rate. Over the last three games, He accounts for 31.2% of the rebounds but only 12.6% of the shots. Ryan Langborg ($6,300) and Matt Allocco ($6,100) grade out as slightly more cost effective plays. Both play almost every minute. Langborg functions as the team’s top shooter behind a 23% shot rate and 25% assist rate. Allocco comes in with a 17% shot rate and 27.8% assist rate, making him a similar play to Langborg. Keeshawn Kellman ($4,700) is the final starter, but he has only played 15, 14 and 17 minutes over the last three games. Zach Martini ($3,900) drew interest in the Round of 32 after playing 22 and 29 minutes. However, his minutes fell back to 15 in the Round of 32, making him a risky punt option as well.
Creighton plays one of the narrowest starting fives in the country and comes in with a solid implied team total. Ryan Kalkbrenner ($8.0k) provides a strong interior presence and will play almost every minute in a competitive game. He provides the most double-double upside behind an 18.5% shot rate and 18.7% rebound rate. Baylor Scheierman ($7.6k) also comes in as a buy low after some poor shot variance of late. He still has an 18% shot rate, 20.9% rebound rate, and 22% assist rate over the last three games in an every minute role. Ryan Nembhard ($7.1k) and Trey Alexander ($7.0k) both pop as supreme values as well. Both are involved across statistical categories with near every-minute roles. Arthur Kaluma ($6.8k) rounds out the starting five and will play a little less than the other starters. He still accounts for a 19.8% rebound rate, giving him an outside shot at a double-double. Finally, due to tight pricing, sixth man Francisco Farabello ($3.7k) needs to be mentioned after playing 22, 18, and 17 minutes. A pure windsprinter, only the layout of the slate keeps him in play.
Xavier vs. Texas
This game offers the best action for the March Madness DFS slate. Texas takes on Xavier as a 4-point favorite in a game with a 148.5 total. Xavier snuck by Kennesaw State before defeating Pittsburgh in a tumultuous Sweet 16 run. On the other side, Texas knocked off Colgate and Penn State to reach this point.
On the Xavier side, the Musketeers funnel a majority of their usage through three players in Souley Boum ($7,900), Jack Nunge ($8,200) and Colby Jones ($8,600). Nunge immediately stands out as the most likely to reach the double-double bonus behind a 16.8% shot rate and 20.4% rebound rate. Boum suffered an ankle injury at the tail end of the regular season. However, he has since returned to full minutes. He is a buy-low after ceding usage to Jones in recent weeks. However, his 18% usage rate still ranks first on the team. Mentioned above, Jones has taken on a more meaningful role of late behind an 18.8% shot rate, 22.9% rebound rate and 25.5% assist rate. Boum could eclipse him at any point, but all three of these players are elite options in this game environment. From there, Xavier has essentially committed to playing three other guys. Adam Kunkel ($6,200) could also be a sell high after two more involved games to kick off the Tournament. His 18.8% rate and 19.6% assist rate over the last three games rank well above his season averages. The Zach Freemantle replacement, Jerome Hunter ($6,000) has played 28, 30 and 26 minutes over the last three games, accounting for a 17.1% shot rate, 16.5% rebound rate and 7.8% assist rate. Even sixth man Desmond Claude ($4,600) deserves consideration. Claude has played 31, 21 and 32 minutes over the last three games, making him the safest value option on the board. Ultimately, this is a strong situation to target for DFS.
On the Texas side, the Longhorns have played an interesting rotation of late down the stretch due to injury. The only player unaffected by the injuries is Marcus Carr ($7,400). Carr plays every minute and has accounted for a 21% shot rate and 25.1% assist rate over the last three games. He has yet to blow up a slate in the NCAA Tournament, but that could happen at any point. From there, Timmy Allen ($6,400) comes in as a buy-low after missing the Big 12 Tournament. Luckily, Allen returned to 31 minutes in Texas’ most recent tournament game. The slate lacks forward value, making Allen particularly interesting in the mid-price range. Allen’s status also affects most of the other players on this team. Sir’Jabari Rice ($6,700) saw his price rise after playing 30-plus minutes per game without Allen in the Big 12 Tournament. Since, he has dropped back to 28 and 29 minutes to open the NCAA Tournament. Somewhat shot reliant, Rice comes in slightly overpriced. The same goes for Dylan Disu ($7,400), who now comes in as the most expensive player on the Longhorns. Disu has an elite rebounding rate, but he struggled to eclipse 20 minutes throughout the regular season. Disu played well above 30 minutes on occasion in the Big 12 Tournament. However, his minutes lack consistency due to fouls and a whimsical decision maker sitting on the sidelines for Texas. Likely drawing some ownership, those with short memories could fall right into a 24 minute Disu game. Tyrese Hunter ($5,400) rounds out the Texas starters. Allen’s status does not really affect Hunter, because he has not done anything with or without Allen this year. He consistently plays 30-plus minutes with poor rates. Lastly, if Disu drops back to 24 minutes, players like Brock Cunningham ($4,100) and Christian Bishop ($4,800) will become viable punt options.