2023 March Madness Best Bets for Saturday: South Bracket Busters Headline Round of 32

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Sir'Jabari Rice #10 of the Texas Longhorns drives to the basket against Keegan Records #14 of the Colgate Raiders during the first round of the NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament at Wells Fargo Arena on March 16, 2023. Michael Reaves/Getty Images/AFP

Top NCAAB Pick: Texas -5½ (-105) at BetOnline (visit our BetOnline Review)

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Lower seeds won four of the 16 NCAA Tournament games on Thursday, and are now set to keep the party going by claiming a spot in the Sweet 16 on Saturday’s college basketball betting card. 

TX locals can join the March Madness by placing their NCAAB bets at any of these Texas betting sites.

Pick Summary

  • Furman vs. San Diego State: Under 137½ (-108) at Heritage Sports
  • Princeton vs. Missouri: Princeton +7 (-110) at Bovada
  • Penn State vs. Texas: Texas -5½ (-105) at BetOnline

Furman Paladins vs. San Diego State Aztecs

Saturday, March 18, 2023 – 12:10 PM EDT at Amway Center 

It didn’t take long for brackets to be busted. Just a couple of hours into March Madness, Furman wrecked a lot of brackets with an upset of Virginia in a 13/4 clash, and the Paladins aim to beat the college basketball odds again against the San Diego State Aztecs in the Round of 32. 

  • Furman – 28-7 SU, 19-13 ATS, 18-14 O/U 
    13 Seed South, AQ, Southern Conference 
  • San Diego State – 28-6 SU, 16-15-2 ATS, 14-19 O/U 
    5 Seed South, AQ, Mountain West 

Late 3’s Push Paladins & Aztecs into 2nd-Round

Virginia appeared to have its 1st-round game in hand holding a 12-point lead with about 12 minutes remaining, but Furman immediately changed things with an 8-0 run. JP Pegues then etched his name into March Madness history with a 3-pointer for a 68-67 Paladins win as the final seconds ticked off. 

For a while, it looked like Furman’s 2nd-round opponent would be 12-seed Charleston who gave San Diego State fits in the follow-up game down in Orlando. Micah Parrish’s clutch 3-pointer with under 2 minutes to go rescued the Aztecs, who just beat the 5½-point spread in the 63-57 final. 

‘Under’-whelming Final Score

San Diego State is favored by the same 5½ in the first meeting with Furman, with 137½ for the total. This should be a close affair to start Saturday’s slate, and while I expect the Aztecs to ultimately move on, it’s the ‘under’ that has the most value. 

NCAAB Pick: Under 137½ (-108) at Heritage Sports (visit our Heritage Sports Review)

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Princeton Tigers vs. Missouri Tigers

Saturday, March 18, 2023 – 06:10 PM EDT at Golden 1 Center

A few hours after the Paladins shocked Virginia, Princeton pulled off the biggest upset of the first day in a 15/2 matchup with the Arizona Wildcats, earning the Ivy League champs a shot at reaching the Sweet 16 in a double-Tigers tilt against Missouri. 

  • Princeton – 22-8 SU, 16-12 ATS & O/U 
    15 Seed South, AQ, Ivy League 
  • Missouri – 25-9 SU, 17-16-1 ATS, 18-16 O/U 
    7 Seed South, At-Large, SEC 

Mizzou Shoots 51% in 1st-Round Win

Think about it: Less than midway through the first day of first-round play, 99.9% of brackets were completely destroyed when Princeton beat Arizona. Coupled with Furman’s win, it also opened a relatively easy path for No. 1 seed Alabama in the South Region. 

Before those Tigers blew things up, the Missouri Tigers had taken care of business against Utah State by pulling away in the final 9½ minutes for a 76-65 win. Missouri closed as a small underdog on the NCAAB odds despite being the higher seed in the contest. 

Either Way, the Tigers Advance

The teams have met twice before with Missouri winning both, but the last time was more than 23 years ago to lend zero relevance to Saturday’s skirmish that finds the squad from the Show Me State favored by 6½-7 at top sportsbooks with 150 for the total. 

Let’s face it: Princeton and Missouri both got a lot of help from their opponents to advance, as Arizona played one of its worst games of the year and Utah State had its worst game from beyond the arc. I’ll take the points in this one but expect Missouri to win outright. 

NCAAB Pick: Princeton +7 (-110) at Bovada (visit our Bovada Review)

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Penn State Nittany Lions vs. Texas Longhorns

Saturday, March 18, 2023 – 07:45 PM EDT at Wells Fargo Arena 

Another first-time matchup helps to cap the first day of the second round, and it features a couple of squads who showed off their sharpshooting skills to begin the NCAA Tournament as Penn State and Texas fight for a Sweet 16 slot. 

  • Penn State – 23-13 SU, 21-13-2 ATS, 20-15-1 O/U/P 
    10 Seed Midwest, At-Large, Big Ten 
  • Texas – 27-8 SU, 18-17 ATS, 16-17-2 O/U/P 
    2 Seed Midwest, AQ, Big 12 

UT Defense Behind Cover on Saturday

In one of the final games on Thursday’s slate, Andrew Funk paced Penn State to a 76-59 win in a mild upset of Texas A&M. The 6-5 senior scored a season-high 27 sinking 8-of-10 from 3-point land where the Nittany Lions shot 59% as a team (13-22). 

Penn State took control of the Aggies midway through the first half, and Texas did the same against Colgate for an easy 81-61 win and cover. The Longhorns were led by Sir’Jabari Rice who scored 23 off the bench and converted 7-of-10 from beyond the arc. 

So, which team is most likely to repeat the fine shooting? Texas is favored by 5½ with 140 for the scoreboard target, and I’m inclined to go with the Longhorns’ perimeter defense slowing the Nittany Lions at least enough to make Texas a winning college basketball pick

NCAAB Pick: Texas -5½ (-105) at BetOnline 

*The line and/or odds on picks in this article might have moved since the content was commissioned. For updated line movements, visit BMR’s free betting odds product.