Four double-digit seeds will seek to enter the Sweet 16 when the second round of the NCAA men’s basketball tournament concludes on Monday.
That includes a matchup between two of those teams. No. 11 UCLA, a school with 11 national championships, meets No. 14 Abilene Christian, coming off his first tournament win at the Division I level. No. 13 Ohio faces No. 5 Creighton in the same region, and No. 10 Maryland faces No. 2 Alabama in the Eastern Region.
Gonzaga is the only team favored by double digits on what should be another day full of great finishes.
Sporting News offers their picks for the second round games:
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March Madness Picks, Predictions for Round 2
No. 1 Gonzaga (-14.5) vs. No. 8 Oklahoma (West)
Oklahoma advanced to the second round without second leading scorer Da’Vion Hamilton, who is out after testing positive for COVID-19. The Sooners still have Austin Reaves, and Brady Manek can be an X-factor player in this game if he continues to be hot from 3-point range. Gonzaga, however, simply has too much trouble on the offensive side, and the Bulldogs scored with their first-round game. Don’t be surprised if Oklahoma leads early, but Gonzaga will walk away in the second half behind another great game from Corey Kispert.
No. 5 Creighton (-6) vs. No. 13 Ohio (West)
Can the Blue Jays put up with another good choice for Cinderella? Marcus Zegarowski scored the first-round victory over UC-Santa Barbara with 17 points, but also facilitated with eight assists. He’s as important as Ohio guard Jason Preston, who nearly had a triple-double in a first-round win against Virginia. Creighton is shooting 36.4 percent from 3-point range. Ohio is at 35.9. It’ll come down to a few shots from there in either direction, and it’ll look to the Bobcats to get those one more time from forward Ben Vander Plas in a tight one.
No. 3 Kansas vs. No. 6 USC (-1.5) (West)
Kansas, the underdog? USC brings an interesting challenge with 7-foot center Evan Mobley, and his brother Isaiah Mobley is another consistent scorer. Eastern Washington pushed the Jayhawks, but that was largely due to three-point shots in the first half. Kansas got 35 points off the bench in the first round. That depth matters. The Jayhawks were 2-5 S / U as underdogs this season, but they break that trend to return to the Sweet 16.
No. 2 Iowa (-5) vs. No. 7 Oregon (West)
Oregon advanced to the second round without competition. The senior trio of Eugene Omoruyi, Chris Duarte and LJ Figueroa are averaging double figures, and they represent an interesting challenge for Iowa. The Hawkeyes have a seasoned tournament team led by SN Player of the Year Luka Garza, and the hot shot will continue behind. by Jordan Bohannan and Joe Wieskamp. Iowa returns to Sweet 16 for the first time since 1999.
No. 1 Michigan (-5.5) vs. No. 8 LSU (East)
This will be a popular surprise pick knowing the Wolverines don’t have Isaiah Livers and face a top-10 scoring offense led by Cameron Thomas, who scored 27 points in the first round against St. Bonaventure. Michigan fights back with Hunter Dickinson, and if the eight-foot center stays out of trouble, the Wolverines should have enough to keep the Tigers late. The Wolverines are 5-1 against SEC opponents in the tournament since 2008, and many of them were pesky picks as well.
No. 4 Florida State (-1.5) vs. No. 5 Colorado (East)
Colorado erupted with 96 points and 16 3s in their first-round win against Georgetown, but the Buffaloes need to match Florida State on both sides of the glass to have a chance. The Seminoles had just five offensive rebounds in their first-round win, and MJ Walker had a bad night. If those struggles continue, the state of Florida will be in trouble. Colorado is the best free throw team in the nation. That makes the difference in the stretch in a little upset.
No. 11 UCLA (-5) vs. No. 14 Abilene Christian (East)
Abilene Christian is playing for the house money after upsetting Texas in the first round in a 53-52 thriller, and the Wildcats have the fourth-best scoring defense in Division I. Abilene Christian will have to shoot better from range. 3 points after hitting just 3 of 18 against the Longhorns. UCLA guards Johnny Juzang and Jamie Jaquez Jr. have combined to average 45 points per game. It still feels strange to call the Bruins sleepers.
No. 2 Alabama (-6) vs. No. 10 Maryland (East)
This is the other Big Ten-SEC second-round matchup. Maryland was 9 of 18 from 3-point range in their first-round matchup, and they will likely have to match that for a shot at Crimson Tide. Herbert Jones also poses a problem in the interior of Maryland. It will be tight, but we’ll stick with our selection from Selection Sunday. Maryland will keep it tight enough to cover, but we’ll change our selection from Selection Sunday.
Eddie is an Australian news reporter with over 9 years in the industry and has published on Forbes and tech crunch.