March Madness 2014 Bracket: Updated Predictions and Round 2 Analysis

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March Madness 2014 Bracket: Updated Predictions and Round 2 Analysis
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
Region Matchup Winner
South Albany vs. Florida Florida
South Pitt vs. Colorado Pitt
South Stephen F. Austin vs. VCU VCU
South Tulsa vs. UCLA UCLA
South Dayton vs. Ohio State Ohio State
South W. Michigan vs. Syracuse Syracuse
South Stanford vs. New Mexico New Mexico
South E. Kentucky vs. Kansas Kansas
West Weber State vs. Arizona Arizona
West Gonzaga vs. Oklahoma State Oklahoma State
West North Dakota State vs. Oklahoma North Dakota State
West New Mexico State vs. San Diego State San Diego State
West Nebraska vs. Baylor Baylor
West Louisiana-Lafayette vs. Creighton Creighton
West BYU vs. Oregon Oregon
West American vs. Wisconsin Winsonsin
East Coastal Carolina vs. Virginia Virginia
East George Washington vs. Memphis Memphis
East Harvard vs. Cincinnati Cincinnati
East Delaware vs. Michigan State Michigan State
East Providence vs. North Carolina North Carolina
East NC Central vs. Iowa State Iowa State
East St. Joe's vs. UConn St. Joe's
East UW-Milwaukee vs. Villanova Villanova
Midwest Cal Poly vs. Wichita State Wichita State
Midwest Kansas State vs. Kentucky Kentucky
Midwest N.C. State vs. St. Louis St. Louis
Midwest Manhattan vs. Louisville Louisville
Midwest Tennessee vs. Massachusetts Tennessee
Midwest Mercer vs. Duke Duke
Midwest Arizona State vs. Texas Arizona State
Midwest Wofford vs. Michigan Michigan

Sean O'Donnell's Predictions

 

Round 2 Analysis

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.

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