This article is part of our DFS College Basketball series.
Barring any last-minute cancellations like we saw in the NBA Wednesday night, we've got one of the biggest college basketball days of the year ahead of us. We already know the NCAA Tournament intends to proceed without spectators due to COVID-19 precautions, but given what happened in the NBA yesterday, the weekend ahead may be one of our last chances to enjoy basketball for the remainder of the season. Expect injury reporting to be limited as well, with most venues limiting attendance to "essential personal" (aka not media members).
Assuming we go on as planned, DraftKings is coming in hot with an 11-game slate that tips off at noon EST Thursday morning, while FanDuel is offering seven on its version. All seven FanDuel games are featured on DraftKings, and the following four games will be available on DraftKings only: Texas vs. Texas Tech, Minnesota vs. Iowa, Florida vs. Georgia. Since it's an abbreviated (possibly 2-part?) column today, let's go ahead and jump in.
Udoka Azubuike, Kansas ($8,800 DK, $8,100 FG)
Since Feb. 8, Azubuike has five performances of 45 or more DraftKings points. The Jayhawks open the Big 12 tournament against Oklahoma State, a team that plays at an average pace but is ranked No. 223 nationally in defensive rebounding rate. Azubuike had 19 points and 16 boards the last time these two faced off, and as long as the game stays close, a repeat is a possibility. Point guard Devon Dotson ($8,400 DK, $7,700 FD) could be considered as well, though he has yet to surpass 25.0 DK points in two games against the Cowboys this season.
Tre Jones, Duke ($8,600 DK, $8,000 FD)
Highest over/under on the slate, so why not take the point guard and usage leader for the Blue Devils. Had 32.3 on DK in a loss the last time they faced NC State, though I would argue Vernon Carey Jr. ($8,200 DK, $7,900 FD) has the higher ceiling. He out-scored Jones in both earlier matchups, and the Wolfpack doesn't seem to have an answer for the freshman in the paint.
Alpha Diallo, Providence ($8,400 DK, $7,500 FD)
Diallo has averaged 34.0 DK points/game since Feb. 5. At home against Butler this year he put up 39, but had just 13 on the road. With Butler playing at a borderline bottom-10 tempo in the country (per KenPom), I'd advise limited exposure here.
Luka Garza, Iowa ($9,600 DK only)
In two games against the Gophers this season, Garza has provided 39.5 and 40.5 DK points. He'll have fresher legs than Daniel Oturu ($9,400), who logged 30 minutes yesterday against Northwestern. Oturu's performances against the Hawkeyes this year have been a little more volatile with 47.0 and 28.5 fantasy points. Both are fine fantasy plays, with Garza owning the higher floor and Oturu arguably the higher ceiling
Payton Pritchard, Oregon ($9,000 DK only)
Pritchard is missing Chris Duarte and possibly even Will Richardson, so usage should be through the roof against a team he's put up 37-plus DK points against twice this year. The only concern is that this is a later tip, and the Pac-12 hasn't made any announcement on his plans. There's also this.
Marcus Earlington, St. John's ($5,100 FD, $5,400 DK)
High risk, high reward. He's had 23.4 DK points over his last name games, and put up 37.0 in just 26 minutes last night against Georgetown. He's going against a Creighton team without a true center that is also outside the top-280 in offensive and defensive rebounding rates.
Cassius Stanley, Duke ($5,900 DK, $5,400 FD)
Stanley has the third-highest usage on a team with the highest implied total of the slate. I'm counting on the five-star guard to rise to the occasion in the postseason, and he represents a relatively cheap way to get a piece.
Here's a list of players that could qualify as "value" using some of my preferred filters on the RotoWire Lineup Optimizer ($5500 or less, 20.0 mpg or more, usage greater than 20%):
-Marcus Zegarowski had his knee scoped this week and has been ruled OUT for the Big East tournament. There may not be a direct pivot here, but look for the usage of Ty-Shon Alexander ($7,900 DK, $7,000 FD) and Mitch Ballock ($6,800 DK, $6,000 FD) to increase substantially. If you need a long-shot dart, freshman Shereef Mitchell ($3,600 DK, $3,700 FD) has seen ball handling duties semi-regularly behind Zegarowski, and he's dirt cheap to own.
-Kerry Blackshear ($6,500 DK) appears on the DraftKings side only, and is questionable for the matchup against Georgia with a sprained wrist. Keyontae Johnson ($7,600 DK) has been the far superior DFS play of late anyway, but you'll pay for it. If Blackshear sits and you need a long-shot pivot for salary relief, four-star freshman Omar Payne ($3,500 DK) is one way to get it.
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