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NCAA Tournament Player Props: Saturday’s Late Evening Picks, Including a Cougar and a Pair of Longhorns (March 20)

NCAA Tournament Player Props: Saturday’s Late Evening Picks, Including a Cougar and a Pair of Longhorns (March 20) article feature image

Brian Spurlock/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images. Pictured: Jericho Sims.

NCAA Tournament Player Prop Picks

First Round: Saturday, March 20

March Madness is back! We’ve waited two years for this weekend, and we’ve got big news at Action Network: Our handy dandy Props Tool is expanding!

The Props Tool has been racking up NBA wins all season, with a hit rate over 60% and a 20% return on investment. Now we’re releasing it for college hoops, just in time for the 2021 NCAA Tournament.

For those who are new to this article, we’ll be using the Action Labs Player Prop tool to compare our NCAAB projections to the props posted at a variety of sportsbooks. Each bet is then graded on a scale from 1-10, with 10 being the best possible grade.

Below, I have laid out three prop bets that I’m playing from Saturday’s NCAA Tournament late evening matchups, the case for each bet and the best books to find odds on those player props.

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Note: All photos below are via Getty Images.

Matt Haarms, BYU

(6) BYU vs. (11) UCLA, 9:40 p.m. ET on CBS

Matt Haarms over 11 points (-112)

Matt Haarms is ready for his redemption arc.

The 7-foot-3 behemoth from the Netherlands is hard to miss on a basketball court. Haarms plied his trade in the paint for Purdue for three seasons, but never seemed to get fully comfortable in his role there, and he finally transferred to BYU, where he has flourished this season.

Haarms has started all season for the Cougars, and he’s posting career numbers. He’s averaging 11.3 points per game for BYU and hitting 61% of his shots, with a soft touch near the rim and size that towered over most of the competition in the conference.

UCLA is no small-school foe, but the Bruins are a smallish team and Haarms will have a size advantage again, like he pretty much always does. That leads to easy buckets at times, especially off the offensive glass.

Haarms hasn’t always played the most minutes this season, but should get plenty of time in BYU’s biggest game yet. When he’s played at least 22 minutes, he’s only gone under this line in six of 15 games.

Haarms has only hit this over in 10 of 24 games overall, but he’s also pushed it three times and I like the potential out at 11 if we get stuck there. We project him at 12.2 points, and I think the big man will be ready to show his stuff in his first tournament game with his new team. I’ll play to -125.

Jericho Sims, Texas

(3) Texas vs. (14) Abilene Christian, 9:50 p.m. ET on truTV

Jericho Sims over 8.5 rebounds (+100)

We’re playing another big man for Texas, though we’ve got a handful of options with the Longhorns. Boy, does Shaka Smart know how to recruit talented giants.

Greg Brown is a five-star power forward for the Horns, a high-motor energy freshman, and Kai Jones is a long, quick-twitch big man with a huge defensive ceiling. Both Brown and Jones are potential NBA Draft lottery picks as soon as this year, but both have been inconsistent and unreliable for Texas, and that’s led Smart to rely more and more on the less-heralded Jericho Sims down the stretch of the season.

Even next to Brown and Jones, Sims just looks bigger, stronger and more established. He was huge for Texas in its run to the Big 12 Tournament championship. He had a double-double in both games, including 21 points and 14 rebounds in the title game.

Sims has seen his minutes bounce around this season as Smart shuffles the rotation, but I think we see a lot of Sims in the tournament as the one safe, reliable option he trusts out there. He played at least 27 minutes in 10 games this season, and he averaged 9.3 rebounds per game in them.

That’s almost exactly where we have Sims projected, and he should be able to dominate with his size against Abilene Christian in this first-round matchup. I like our chances at even odds and will play to -120.

Courtney Ramey, Texas

(3) Texas vs. (14) Abilene Christian, 9:50 p.m. ET on truTV

Courtney Ramey under 12.5 points (-118)

We’ve got one more Texas prop to wrap up our evening, but this one is a fade.

A lot has gone right for the Longhorns lately. Andrew Jones has been an inspirational story all season, leading the team in scoring, and Matt Coleman has exploded down the stretch. Sims, Brown and Jones have formed an outstanding big-man rotation, as good as almost any team in the nation has to offer.

But amid all of that, Courtney Ramey appears to be fading a bit. Poor Ramey scored only three points total in the Big 12 Tournament. He went 1-of-11 from the field and couldn’t find regular minutes, playing just 43 minutes in two games as Smart shuffled the rotation, and the music too often stopped with Ramey on the bench.

Ramey averaged only 11.4 points per game in the back-half of the season as conference play heated up, down significantly from his 13.9 PPG average over the first 12 games. He had double-digit points in all but one of those first 12 and went over this number in nine of them, but he’s gone under in six of 13 since and is trending quickly in the wrong direction.

We project Ramey at just 10.0 points and rate this prop a 10 out of 10, giving it a 15-percent edge in our favor. Let’s finish our night strong with a couple Longhorns winners. I’ll play this as high as -145.

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