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Thursday’s first-round games once again proved why it’s called March Madness as we saw three double-digit seed upsets, which included No. 13 Furman over No. 4 Virginia, No. 10 Penn State over No. 7 Texas A&M and, the biggest of them all, No. 15 Princeton knocking off No. 2 Arizona in the South Region.
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Now the Big Dance moves into the second round Saturday with eight games being played across the four regions.
FrontPageBets takes a look at three games to consider for best bets as the madness will no doubt continue.
(All odds courtesy of DraftKings and are subject to change)
No. 13 Furman vs. No. 5 San Diego State; South Region
When: 12:10 p.m., Saturday; Orlando, Fla.
Spread: San Diego State -5.5 (-110); Furman +5.5 (-110)
Money line: San Diego State -240; Furman +200
O/U: 138 (-110)
Road to 2nd Round: San Diego State (28-6) beat a game 12-seeded College of Charleston team Thursday in the first round, 63-57. Guard Matt Bradley led the Aztecs with 17 points, the only SDSU player to reach double figures. … Furman (28-7) stunned 4th-seeded Virginia on Thursday, battling back from a 12-point deficit late in the game and capitalizing on an ill-fated Hail Mary pass attempt by fifth-year senior guard Kihei Clark when JP Pegues buried a 3-pointer off the steal with 2.4 seconds to play, giving the Paladins the 68-67 win. This is the first appearance in the NCAA Tournament for Furman in 43 years, and the Paladins made it count. Forward Jalen Slawson scored 19 points to lead Furman, while three other players scored in double figures. The Paladins entered the NCAAs as the seventh-best scoring team in the nation, averaging 82.1 points per game.
The pick: Furman, 70-60
No. 5 Duke vs. No. 4 Tennessee; East Region
When: 2:40 p.m., Saturday; Orlando, Fla.
Spread: Duke -3 (-110); Tennessee +3 (-110)
Money line: Duke -150; Tennessee +130
O/U: 129.5 (-110)
Road to 2nd Round: Duke (27-8) beat No. 12 Oral Roberts, 74-51, in Thursday’s first-round game to advance in the East Region, winning its 10th consecutive game. Guard Jeremy Roach tied a career high, scoring 23 points in the victory, helping the Blue Devils jump out to a 15-0 lead. Duke also did it on defense, holding one of the nation’s top scoring teams (84.2 ppg) to just 51 points, the second-lowest point total the Golden Eagles have been held to all season. … Tennessee (24-10) had a much tougher time with its first-round opponent, holding on to beat 13th-seeded Louisiana, 58-55, on Thursday night. Tyreke Key led the way for the Vols with 12 points, while Jahmai Mashack scored 11. Tennessee has struggled lately, winning for just the sixth time in the last 13 games. The Vols turned the ball over 18 times in Thursday’s win.
The pick: Duke, 59-55
No. 9 Auburn vs. No. 1 Houston; Midwest Region
When: 7:10 p.m., Saturday; Birmingham, Ala.
Spread: Houston -5.5 (-110); Auburn +5.5 (-110)
Money line: Houston -250; Auburn +210
O/U: 132.5 (-110)
Road to 2nd Round: Houston (32-3) held off a feisty No. 16-seed in Northern Kentucky, 63-52, on Thursday in Birmingham. While they earned the victory, the Cougars did suffer a scare as All-American guard Marcus Sasser re-aggravated the groin injury he suffered last week in the ACC tournament, playing not even a full half before heading to the bench. Sasser came into the NCAA Tournament averaging 16.7 points per game. He had 5 points on Thursday before leaving. Jarace Walker, a freshman forward, led Houston with 16 points, one of four Cougars to score double figures. … Auburn (21-12) beat No. 8 Iowa on Thursday, 83-75, playing in front of a near-hometown crowd, just 100 miles or so away from The Plains. The Tigers will need that crowd again Saturday to upset the No. 1 seed in the Midwest Region. Sophomore forward Johni Broome once again led Auburn with 19 points, 12 rebounds and five blocks. Guard Wendell Green Jr. added 15 points, as four Tigers scored double digits. … This will be a matchup of two very good defenses – Houston is second in the nation in scoring defense, allowing just 56.5 points per game; while Auburn is holding opponents to under 40% field goal shooting, which is in the top 30 in Division I.
The pick: Houston, 66-63
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Mike Szvetitz is the General Manager and Content Director for FrontPageBets.com. Szvetitz is a 23-year veteran reporter and editor, including serving 17 years as a sports editor in Florida, Alabama and Virginia, covering everything from preps to pros. His "View From The Lazy Boy" column won multiple state and national awards. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.