The NCAA Tournament’s first round will feature a total of 48 teams by the time action picks up on Friday. Fans may not expect that the top teams will survive and advance as upsets are quite common in March Madness. CBS Sports experts have provided their picks straight up and against the spread for some of the games on Friday’s slate, as well as their insight. While the primary objective is to survive and advance, the experts have provided their analysis on whether the teams will cover their spreads. Be sure to check the expert brackets to help in the decision-making process.
The first game on Friday is (3) Baylor vs. (14) UCSB, where Baylor is expected to roll big. Baylor struggled with consistency this season, but their second-most efficient offense in the sport leads the top-40 3-point shooting team in percentage. The support mostly leans towards Baylor winning.
In the (4) UConn vs. (13) Iona match, predicting UConn to win this game is relatively reasonable, but Iona may have the ability to keep it within single digits. Despite led by Hall of Fame coach Rick Pitino, Iona works hard on defense and can use their size to counter UConn’s athleticism and length.
Gonzaga vs. Grand Canyon is the game where most experts side with Gonzaga to win. Gonzaga certainly stands out as the better team with its top-10 scoring margin on the season, leading the country in that category over its last three games.
Finally, the game between (8) Memphis vs. (9) Florida Atlantic is also one that could go either way. While Florida Atlantic may take the win, Memphis guard Kendric Davis may serve as a sticking point, given his ability to score and create. However, it is still possible to bet on FAU with a nice blend of balance on offense and defense.
All in all, March Madness never fails to provide excitement with its unpredictable nature. Still, the opinions of experts can guide fans in their brackets, and their insight can help understand which teams are worth betting on.