A nutty first round of NCAA Tournament action that saw nine double-digits seeds advance means only one thing: March and its mayhem are now really knocking at the door. As we head to the final day of the second round, four teams playing Monday seeded 10th or worse are within reach of Sweet 16 berths.
The action starts with a team that has yet to play as No. 7 Oregon — which advanced via a no-contest against VCU — opens its tournament slate against No. 2 seed Iowa on CBS. That game will be followed by No. 1 overall seed Gonzaga and No. 8 seed Oklahoma in Hinkle Fieldhouse in the first of three games at the basketball cathedral to finish off Round 2.
We are headed for a historic first two rounds of the NCAA Tournament. The latest episode of Eye on College Basketball explains everything you need to know before Monday’s games tip.
Then things get really interesting, with No. 11 UCLA and No. 14 Abilene Christian dueling to kick off the afternoon slate, as both look to put the slipper on as Cinderella. Also in action to close the second round will be No. 1 Michigan, No. 2 Alabama and a host of other quality teams as they look to advance.
By night’s end, the final eight teams will be on their way to the Sweet 16. Our team of experts has analyzed the games and made picks straight up and against the spread for each of them below. Odds via William Hill Sportsbook
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(7) Oregon vs. (2) Iowa
Time: 12:10 p.m. ET | Location: Bankers Life FieldhouseTV: CBS | Live stream: March Madness live
The expectation is that Oregon should be fresh and rearing to go after its first-round game was declared a no-contest. Not the case for Iowa, which got a tougher-than-expected fight from 15 seed Grand Canyon. Combine that with Oregon’s length and size and the Ducks are in a spot to give Iowa real trouble. Unless Hawkeyes star Luka Garza goes supernova — which is certainly in the realm of possibilities! — I think I lean ever-so-slightly Oregon. So I’ll take the points with the Ducks and pick the upset to align with my pre-tourney bracket. Prediction: Oregon 71, Iowa 69 — Boone
(8) Oklahoma vs. (1) Gonzaga
Time: 2:40 p.m. ET | Location: Hinkle FieldhouseTV: CBS | Live stream: March Madness Live
Gonzaga and its nations-best scoring margin entered the NCAA Tournament on Saturday and immediately dismantled Texas Southern by 43 points. The Zags aren’t going to do that to Oklahoma, who I expect to cover the double-digit spread, but this game isn’t likely to be close. Sooners struggles offensively over the last month have been very real, masked in part by Austin Reaves’ superstardom. Prediction: Gonzaga 78, Oklahoma 67 — Boone
(14) Abilene Christian vs. (11) UCLA
Time: 5:15 p.m. ET | Location: Bankers Life FieldhouseTV: TBS | Live stream: March Madness Live
The shot-making and skill we’ve seen from Johnny Juzang and Jaime Jaquez the last two games makes it difficult to bet against UCLA in this one, especially considering Abilene Christian advanced past Texas while making fewer than 30% of its total shots. So guess what? I’m not going to bet against UCLA. So long as the Bruins don’t give up a ton of second-chance opportunities and keep ACU off the glass, they’ll scoot to the Sweet 16. Prediction: UCLA 69, Abilene Christian 60 — Boone
(13) Ohio vs. (5) Creighton
Time: 6:10 p.m. ET | Location: Hinkle FieldhouseTV: TNT | Live stream: March Madness Live
Ohio is a fantastic story with a Cinderella shine, having knocked off reigning champion Virginia in Round 1. But Creighton and its sharpshooting backcourt presents problems that the Bobcats aren’t adequately equipped to face. If Jason Preston and Ohio pull the upset, it won’t be a massive shocker. But the Bluejays’ lethal offensive attack should be a huge edge for them in this one. Prediction: Creighton 78, Ohio 71 — Boone
(8) LSU vs. (1) Michigan
Time: 7:10 p.m. ET | Location: Lucas Oil Stadium (South)TV: CBS | Live stream: March Madness Live
A surprising first-round blowout came when LSU trounced St. Bonaventure behind Cameron Thomas’ 27 point outing. But this Tigers team all season has had major offensive potential capable of giving them a win on any given night. Because of that, I like them to cover the number but I’m taking Wolverines moneyline. They’ve been elite on D all season and have the athletes to keep up with LSU on the perimeter and in the post. Prediction: Michigan 83, LSU 81 — Boone
(5) Colorado vs. (4) Florida State
Time: 7:45 p.m. ET | Location: Indiana Farmers ColiseumTV: TBS | Live stream: March Madness Live
It’s surprising to see unanimity here after Colorado looked sterling in a blowout win over Georgetown on Saturday. But the Buffaloes shot extremely well in that game and now must face a deep and disciplined FSU squad. The Seminoles are too solid and too well-coached, and they are athletic enough defensively to get Colorado out of rhythm offensively. Prediction: Florida State 83, Colorado 80 — David Cobb
(10) Maryland vs. (2) Alabama
Time: 8:45 p.m. ET | Location: Bankers Life Fieldhouse TV: TNT | Live stream: March Madness Live
Alabama has been winning recently without shooting particularly well from deep, and it’s only a matter of time before the Crimson Tide starts hitting again. Even if Alabama is cold, its defense is good enough to carry it to a victory. With even a decent shooting night, it will cover the 5.5-point spread (via William Hill SportsBook) and advance to the Sweet 16. Prediction: Alabama 85, Maryland 75 — Cobb
(6) USC vs. (3) Kansas
Time: 9:40 p.m. ET | Location: Hinkle FieldhouseTV: CBS | Live stream: March Madness Live
It’s no surprise our panel is split down the middle on this one as there doesn’t appear to be a ton separating these teams. One thing is clear, though: it will be a great battle in the post. Junior David McCormack scored 22 points to lead Kansas past Eastern Washington in the first-round. Now he’ll be tasked with going up against USC’s star freshman Evan Mobley. Look for Mobley to shine with NBA scouts paying close attention. Prediction: USC, 71, Kansas 67 — Cobb