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DraftKings $150 Promo; Early Upset Picks NCAA Tournament



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The NCAA Tournament kicks into full gear Thursday and March Madness always has an alluring quality to even casual sports fans.

That quality is the possibility of upsets. A lot of upsets.

The list of Cinderella teams from previous Big Dances is long. Last year, 16-seed Fairleigh Dickinson upset 1-seed Purdue and national Player of the Year Zach Edey.

There will be upsets again this year because there always are. Let’s look at three potential upset plays, including one in a game that will take place in Pittsburgh.

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Texas Tech vs. NC State

Sixth-seeded Texas Tech (23-10) takes on 11 seed NC State (22-14) at 9:40 p.m. ET Thursday in a South Regional game at PPG Paints Arena. The Red Raiders are favored by five points.

NC State, with no chance of an at-large bid, had to win the ACC Tournament to reach the NCAAs. The Wolfpack did that with an amazing run of five wins in five days, including taking down top-seeded North Carolina 84-76 in the championship game.

Conversely, Texas Tech is just 7-7 in its last 14 games following a 16-3 start to the season. The Red Raiders were routed by 1 seed Houston 82-59 in the Big 12 Tournament.

NC State might be exhausted following its effort in the ACC tourney. However, adrenaline usually kicks in during March.

Pick: NC State +5 (-110)

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San Diego State vs UAB

Fifth-seeded San Diego State (24-10) plays 12-seed UAB (23-11) at 1:45 p.m. ET Friday in an East Regional game in Spokane, Wash. The Aztecs are favored by seven points.

San Diego State made it to the national championship game as 5 seed last year before losing to UConn. However, the Aztecs don’t have the same mojo this March as they have split their last eight games, including falling to New Mexico 68-61 in the final of the Mountain West Conference Tournament.

Like NC State, UAB had to run the table in the American Athletic Conference Tournament to crack the Field of 68. The Blazers did just that, including handling Temple 85-69 in the championship game.

UAB has won five in a row overall and seems poised to give San Diego State all it can handle.

Pick: UAB +7 (-112)

Alabama vs. College of Charleston

Fourth-seeded Alabama (21-11) faces 13-seed College of Charleston at 7:35 ET Friday in a West Regional game in Spokane. The Crimson Tide is favored by 9.5 points.

Alabama leads the nation in scoring with an average of 90.8 points a game but is 348th in points allowed with an 81.1 average. The Crimson Tide has given up at least 100 points three times while losing four of its last six games.

Conversely, Charleston rides a 12-game winning streak into the Big Dance, including beating Stony Brook 82-79 in the Coastal Athletic Association Tournament title game.

The Cougars have scored 80 points or more in 10 of their last 15 games. They pose a matchup problem for Alabama’s leaky defense in what should be a high-scoring game.

Pick: College of Charleston +9.5 (-108)