March Madness 2014 Bracket: Updated Predictions and Round 2 Analysis

Sean ODonnellContributor IIIMarch 20, 2014

Louisville forward Montrezl Harrell celebrates after scoring against Connecticut during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game in the final of the American Athletic Conference men's tournament Saturday, March 15, 2014, in Memphis, Tenn. Louisville won 71-61. (AP Photo/Mark Humphrey)
Mark Humphrey/Associated Press

Now that the play-in games for the 2014 NCAA tournament are in the books, the field of 64 has come to fruition. This is the time to break out your bracket and get to work, as Wednesday's results brought about some shifts in the paths that some teams must take to reach the promised land.

Before you ink your printable brackets, be sure to look over the updated field. There may be even more surprises than were originally anticipated.

All Your Bracket Essentials:

Bleacher Report

Let's take a look at updated predictions for the entire second round of the NCAA tournament and analyze some of the crucial games as March Madness continues.

 

Round 2 Predictions

2014 NCAA Tournament Round 2 Predictions
RegionMatchupWinner
SouthAlbany vs. FloridaFlorida
SouthPitt vs. ColoradoPitt
SouthStephen F. Austin vs. VCUVCU
SouthTulsa vs. UCLAUCLA
SouthDayton vs. Ohio StateOhio State
SouthW. Michigan vs. SyracuseSyracuse
SouthStanford vs. New MexicoNew Mexico
SouthE. Kentucky vs. KansasKansas
WestWeber State vs. ArizonaArizona
WestGonzaga vs. Oklahoma StateOklahoma State
WestNorth Dakota State vs. OklahomaNorth Dakota State
WestNew Mexico State vs. San Diego StateSan Diego State
WestNebraska vs. BaylorBaylor
WestLouisiana-Lafayette vs. CreightonCreighton
WestBYU vs. OregonOregon
WestAmerican vs. WisconsinWinsonsin
EastCoastal Carolina vs. VirginiaVirginia
EastGeorge Washington vs. MemphisMemphis
EastHarvard vs. CincinnatiCincinnati
EastDelaware vs. Michigan StateMichigan State
EastProvidence vs. North CarolinaNorth Carolina
EastNC Central vs. Iowa StateIowa State
EastSt. Joe's vs. UConnSt. Joe's
EastUW-Milwaukee vs. VillanovaVillanova
MidwestCal Poly vs. Wichita StateWichita State
MidwestKansas State vs. KentuckyKentucky
MidwestN.C. State vs. St. LouisSt. Louis
MidwestManhattan vs. LouisvilleLouisville
MidwestTennessee vs. MassachusettsTennessee
MidwestMercer vs. DukeDuke
MidwestArizona State vs. TexasArizona State
MidwestWofford vs. MichiganMichigan
Sean O'Donnell's Predictions

 

Round 2 Analysis

ATLANTA, GA - MARCH 15:  Michael Frazier II #20 of the Florida Gators reacts after making a three-point basket against the Tennessee Volunteers during the semifinals of the SEC Men's Basketball Tournament at Georgia Dome on March 15, 2014 in Atlanta, Geor
Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

All right, let's go over some crucial information needed to ensure a great start to your bracket followed by some analysis of specific round of 64 matchups.

Despite some of the No. 1 seeds not exactly looking like, well, No. 1 seeds, they will all emerge victorious in the round of 64. Some of them could see an early exit in this year's tournament, but it won't happen right off the bat.

The same can be said for other top-ranked teams. In fact, it can be speculated that there are No. 2, 3 and 4 seeds that look stronger than their No. 1  counterparts.

The madness starts with the No. 5 seeds.

Beware of the West Region's No. 5 Oklahoma. The Sooners are poised to be upset by a very good—albeit underrated—North Dakota State team.

The Bison have a nicely balanced team, ranking 47th-overall in offense and 61st in the nation on defense. The most staggering statistic is the Bison were the most efficient team in the NCAA from the floor, hitting 50.9 percent of their shots.

Oklahoma has a powerful offense; however, the team could find itself behind early against a North Dakota State team that is very experienced and executes with precision.

Now that the Volunteers have secured the No. 11 seed in the Midwest Region, Massachusetts is officially on upset alert. UMass has been unspectacular lately, dropping three of its last five games, including two to unranked teams.

Tennessee's stout 16th-ranked defense had the team rolling on a five-game winning streak before being derailed in a close 56-49 game by No. 1 Florida in the SEC tournament. The Volunteers should move on to the round of 32 here.

The 8-9 games are generally the toughest to predict; they usually feature two teams that match up very evenly.

This year, it looks as though one lower seed is a lock to earn a victory. The Pittsburgh Panthers stout defense and suddenly surging offense should be enough to take down a slumping Colorado team.

The Oklahoma State Cowboys are another team to consider. They have been brilliant since the return of Marcus Smart to the lineup, but face a tough, well-rounded Gonzaga team in the round of 64. If the Cowboys can light up the scoreboard early, they should be able to earn the win.