This article is part of our DFS College Basketball series.
Saturday's two-game slate screams defense after watching these winners play Thursday. Three of the four winners held opponents under 60, while two held them under 50. Texas Tech hasn't allowed 60 points in the tournament, and its games have gone under in all three outings. Gonzaga has gone under in three of its past four, and four of six. While the Boilermakers come in flying, having scored 186 points in their last two, Virginia has only allowed 70+ points three times all season, twice against Duke. Both point spreads are small, so we're looking at a tightly-contested Saturday where chasing points may not serve well.
Carsen Edwards, G, Purdue ($8,600 DK, $8,600 FD): Edwards' 40.5 DK points were his lowest of Purdue's run to the Elite 8, and while he's had a few clunkers over the last month, his game log has been remarkably consistent. That's thanks in large part to volume, as he's taken at least 14 shots in 10 straight, five times topping 20. Edwards averages only 3.7 rebounds and 3.0 assists, and while he'll be hoisting again here, his shots are going to be highly contested by the Cavaliers. Maybe everyone thinks like me and stays away from Edwards, which would make him a great pivot play. But I'm thinking/hoping most love his volume scoring ability, pay up and UVA keeps him in check. Edwards lit up Wisconsin during the regular season for 45.5 DKP, but was limited by Michigan State to 42.0 DKP total across two meetings, and 29.0 against Michigan.
Jarrett Culver, G, Texas Tech ($8,500 DK, $8,700 FD): Culver is my choice to build around Saturday, with the hope that the 'Zags can push pace enough to boost Culver's already impressive tournament showing. He's averaged 22.3 points, 5.3 assists, 7.3 rebounds, 1.3 blocks and 2.0 steals through three, and has averaged 42.9 DK points in his last 10 games, with a low of 36.0. The Raiders go as Culver goes, and I think the floor is safer than Edwards, and Culver's all-around production lends itself to a higher ceiling as well.
Brandon Clarke, G/F, Gonzaga ($8,900 DK, $9,100 FD): I've doubted Clarke nightly during the 'Zags run, and I've been wrong nightly. Coming off of a double-double and having blocked five shots in each of his last two games, Clarke is also shooting 63.4 percent (26-of-41) during the dance. He'll obviously be the focus of the Red Raiders fierce defense, and has been the more volatile over his last 10 than the two above, but Clarke also has also shown the highest upside.
Rui Hachimura, F, Gonzaga ($7,900 DK, $7,900 FD): Clarke's surge has come at the expense of Hachimura, who has topped 30 DKP just once in his last four outings after doing so in all but two games dating back to December 1. Gonzaga ranks second in 2-point field goal percentage, while Texas Tech ranks third in 2-point percentage defense. Something will have to give, and it will either sink or swim Hachimura's closing line. His form suggests he'll sink, his season-long body of work suggests he's due for a breakout. Falling under 8k, Hachimura is appealing in a slate with limited forward choices.
Ty Jerome, G, Virginia ($7,300 DK, $7,500 FD): Jerome's upside isn't as poor as one would think, as he owns a 43.0 and 51.8 DKP outing in March. He's also as stable as they come, failing to reach 26.0 DKP just only four times since February. He's the straw that stirs Virginia's drink, and a great cash game option for those not interested in paying up on a potentially low-scoring slate.
Norense Odiase, F, Texas Tech ($4,100 DK, $3,900 FD): The hope here is that Gonzaga's size forces the Red Raiders to play a little bigger than usual, which leaves Odiase playing closer to the 25 minutes when he decimated Buffalo in Round 2 than the 18 scoreless minutes he saw against Michigan in the Sweet 16. There's a very low floor, which you can stomach a bit given the reduced cost. A pure GPP play for sure, and his explosion against Buffalo could make him a chalky tournament target, but one still worth the gamble.
Josh Perkins, G, Gonzaga ($6,500 DK, $6,500 FD): Perkins' 31.5 DKP were his best in seven outings, but I like his ability to contribute across the board here. He's had at least four assists in four of his last five, and two steals in four of five as well. The floor may be a bit too unstable for cash lineups, but with Texas Tech assuredly focusing attention on Clarke and Hachimura, Perkins and Zach Norvell ($6,700 FD) are the Bulldogs' x-factor. One needs to have a big evening.
Kyle Guy, G, Virginia: ($6,600 DK, $6,000 FD): There's no getting around how cold Guy is from the floor, hitting only 8-of-38 from the floor over his last three games. He hasn't topped 23.5 DKP in his last four, and has just three games north of that mark in his last 10. Thats resulted in a reduced price, and likely a lot of managers ignoring him, setting him up as the perfect GPP target. 38 shots in his last three is a significant number, and eventually something has to go in. His minutes remain huge, playing at least 37 in seven straight, and if Purdue can force any tempo, Guy will be needed even more. I'll name Mamadi Diakite ($4,700 DK, $5,100 FD) here as well. He's here to stay in the Cavs rotation so long as their season continues. He'll assuredly have very, very high ownership, but he'll be hard to fade in all formats with his high minutes.
Nojel Eastern, G, Purdue ($5,400 DK, $5,300 FD): Eastern looked like his usual self Thursday, playing 29 minutes and putting up 24.5 FDP. While that may be his ceiling in this low total matchup, his price has slid a bit due to his first-weekend ankle injury, and his minutes are back to normal. His ability to provide rebounds, assists and steals bolster his inability at times to contribute in the scoring column.
Players to Fade
Tariq Owens, F, Texas Tech ($5,800 DK, $6,200 FD): I don't think Owens is a bad play at all, and he's proven to be a stable producer over the season's final two months. But he's coming off of his first single-digit scoring performance in his last four games against a bigger Michigan squad, and Gonzaga has ample bodies in the interior as well. He'll surely grab a stable of rebounds if he stays out of foul trouble, but a double-double likely only comes in a Raiders victory, with Owens a leading cause of that win. He hasn't topped 25 FDP in three tournament appearances.
Killian Tillie, F, Gonzaga ($4,900 DK, $4,500 FD): With only two games to choose from, we're really splitting hairs in this section. Tillie lands here simply because I'd rather pay $200 more at FD, and save at DK for Corey Kispert ($4,500 FD, $4,700 FD) to secure the higher minutes total. Kispert is averaging 26.4 minutes and 19.4 DKP in his last five, and while Tillie's 17.1 DKP in 16.6 minutes is impressive, the floor drops out on him simply due to decreased opportunity. Many will see Tillie's production and just throw him in their lineup to save, but I won't be one of them.
Ryan Cline, G, Purdue ($6,000 DK, $5,600 FD): Simply put, Cline isn't matching his incredible shooting performance from Thursday. Right? Everything he threw up went in en route to 27 points, but he had only 31 in his three prior games combined. He plays a full slate of minutes, seeing less than 30 just twice since the beginning of January, and while he contributes peripheral numbers, scoring is what gives him upside. The talk of the tournament Thursday is a cheap option to just throw into your lineup, but with a repeat point total unlikely, his high ownership numbers make him a guy to go against rather than with.
Kihei Clark, G, Virginia ($4,300 DK, $4,200 FD): Clark's appeal is obvious; he's cheap, plays 30+ minutes and is coming off of 23.8 FD points, his highest total all year. And thats exactly while he'll be a popular pick for everyone else. Clark had topped 20 FDP just once the entire year previously, and while that isn't what you expect when spending this little, Clark isn't an able scorer and relies on assists to contribute in the box score. Another low upside, high ownership player, Clark surprisingly plays better in cash formats than GPPs.