NCAA Tournament: Preview & Picks for Friday’s Late-Night Games
The madness keeps on rolling into Friday as more first-round games are set to tip off as we complete the field for the Round of 32. We look at all 16 games on Friday’s slate and discuss which team we see advancing.
NCAA Picks: Early Games | Afternoon Games | Early-Evening Games
9:20 p.m. ET | #9 Florida Atlantic vs. #8 Memphis | TNT
This will undoubtedly be one of the best games of the opening round. I love the story of Florida Atlantic’s rise to the top. Head coach Dusty May has built this thing from the bottom up during his tenure in Boca Raton and has the program reaching new heights in 2023. Unfortunately, the committee dealt them a cold deck pinning them up against a Memphis team with Final Four potential. The Tigers are fresh off a statement win over Houston in the AAC Championship and will have the best player on the court in Kendric Davis. They’re playing like one of the best teams in the country right now, and it’s impossible to get in the way of the Tigers as things stand.
ATS Pick: Memphis -1.5
9:40 p.m. ET | #14 Montana State vs. #3 Kansas State | truTV
There are a lot of sneaky 14-seeds in this bracket, and Montana State is one of them. The Bobcats have some dudes, specifically RaeQuan Battle and Jubrile Belo. This inside-outside duo combines for over 30 points per game and are both elite at getting to the free-throw line for their scoring. It’s a slight concern for Kansas State, which allows teams to score 21.1 percent of their points via free throws, the 55th-highest rate in the country. That might be enough to at least keep Montana State in striking distance and within the spread in this one.
ATS Pick: Montana State +8.5
9:55 p.m. ET | #13 Kent State vs. #4 Indiana | TBS
If you haven’t heard of Sincere Carry yet, you surely will by late Friday evening. The fifth-year senior is one of the biggest stars at the mid-major level and has gone for at least 20 points in four of Kent State’s previous six games. His presence, an experienced roster, and strong defense should be enough to keep the Golden Flashes in this one. Indiana will have to do its part to complete the upset, and we have seen plenty of puzzling performances from the Hoosiers this season. Trayce Jackson-Davis should have a field day against the smaller Kent State lineup, but it’s hard to see who steps up in the backcourt outside of Jalen Hood-Schifino.
Moneyline Pick: Kent State +162
10:05 p.m. ET | #11 Arizona State vs. #6 TCU | truTV
Arizona State’s offense looked damn good in their blowout over Nevada in the First Four on Wednesday. The Sun Devils had an uncharacteristically efficient night on the offensive end, pouring in 98 points for the victory. It’s safe to say we won’t see that again on Friday night against TCU, where it’ll be a defensive battle between these two. The Horned Frogs will have the luxury of boasting the best player on the court in Mike Miles and a transition offense that could cause Arizona State fits if they cannot set their defense. Jamie Dixon gives TCU a solid coaching edge in this one as well, giving them the nod for us.
ATS Pick: TCU -4.5