NCAA Brackets 2014: Picks, Odds Advice, Updated Schedule After 2nd-Round Day 1

Richard Langford@@noontide34Correspondent IMarch 21, 2014

Baylor's Taurean Prince, left, coach Scott Drew, center, and Brady Heslip wait for the rest of the team to join them at center court during practice for the NCAA college basketball tournament in San Antonio, Thursday, March 20, 2014. Baylor plays against Nebraska in a second-round game on Friday. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)
David J. Phillip/Associated Press

In the first four games of the round of 64 on Thursday, we saw an 11 and a 12 seed pull off an upset. Dayton (11) beat Ohio State (6) in a one-point game, and Harvard (12) beat Cincinnati (5), 61-57. 

The madness came on quick and furious this March. It didn't stop there. There were upsets and overtime thrillers spread throughout the day. 

Have a look at the scores from Thursday, and then we'll look ahead at Friday's and Saturday's action.  

All Your Bracket Essentials

Round of 64 Schedule (Thursday, March 20)
South No. 6 Ohio StateNo. 11 DaytonDayton 60-59
South No. 3 SyracuseNo. 14 Western MichiganSyracuse 77-53
South No. 8 ColoradoNo. 9 PittsburghPittsburgh 77-48
South No. 1 FloridaNo. 16 AlbanyFlorida 67-65
East No. 5 CincinnatiNo. 12 HarvardHarvard 61-57
East No. 4 Michigan StateNo. 13 DelawareMSU 93-78
East No. 7 ConnecticutNo. 10 Saint Joseph'sUConn 89-81 (OT)
East No. 2 VillanovaNo. 15 MilwaukeeVillanova 73-53
MidwestNo. 2 MichiganNo. 15 WoffordMichigan 57-40
MidwestNo. 7 TexasNo. 10 Arizona StateTexas 87-85
MidwestNo. 5 Saint LouisNo. 12 NC StateSt. Louis 83-80 (OT)
MidwestNo. 4 LouisvilleNo. 13 ManhattanLouisville 71-64
WestNo. 2 WisconsinNo. 15 AmericanWisconsin 75-35
WestNo. 7 OregonNo. 10 BYUOregon 87-68
WestNo. 5 OklahomaNo. 12 North Dakota StateNDS 80-75
WestNo. 4 San Diego StateNo. 13 New Mexico StateSDSU 73-69 (OT)

Friday Schedule 

NCAA Tournament Schedule and Picks for Friday, March 21
RegionMatchupTime (ET)TVPick
MidwestNo. 3 Duke vs. No. 14 Mercer12:15 p.m.CBSDuke
WestNo. 6 Baylor vs. No. 11 Nebraska12:40 p.m.TruTVBaylor
SouthNo. 7 New Mexico vs. No. 10 Stanford1:40 p.m.TBSNew Mexico
WestNo. 1 Arizona vs. No. 16 Weber St.2:10 p.m.TNTArizona
MidwestNo. 6 UMass vs. No. 11 Tennessee2:30 p.m.CBSTennessee
WestNo. 3 Creighton vs. No. 14 UL-Lafayette3:10 p.m.TruTVCreighton
SouthNo. 2 Kansas vs. No. 15 E. Kentucky4:10 p.m.TBSKansas
WestNo. 8 Gonzaga vs. No. 9 Oklahoma St.4:40 p.m.TNTGonzaga
EastNo. 8 Memphis vs. No. 9 Geo. Washington6:55 p.m.TBSG. Washington
MidwestNo. 1 Wichita St. vs. No. 16 Cal Poly7:10 p.m.CBSWichita State
SouthNo. 5 VCU vs. No. 12 SF Austin7:27 p.m.TruTVSF Austin
EastNo. 6 North Carolina vs. No. 11 Providence7:20 p.m.TNTNorth Carolina
EastNo. 1 Virginia vs. No. 16 Coastal Carolina9:25 p.m.TBSVirginia
MidwestNo. 8 Kentucky vs. No. 9 Kansas St.9:40 p.m.CBSKansas State
MidwestNo. 3 Iowa St. vs. No 14 N.C. Central9:50 p.m.TNTIowa State
SouthNo. 4 UCLA vs. No. 13 Tulsa9:57 p.m.TruTVUCLA

Saturday Schedule

NCAA Tournament Schedule and Picks for Saturday, March 22
SouthNo. 1 Florida vs. No. 9 PittsburghPittsburgh
SouthNo. 11 Dayton vs. No. 3 SyracuseSyracuse
EastNo. 12 Harvard vs. No. 4 Michigan StateMichigan State
EastNo. 7 Connecticut vs. No. 2 VillanovaVillanova
WestNo. 12 North Dakota State vs. No. 4 San Diego StateSan Diego State
WestNo. 7 Oregon vs. No. 2 WisconsinWisconsin
MidwestNo. 5 St. Louis vs. No. 4 LouisvilleLouisville
MidwestNo. 7 Texas vs. No. 2 MichiganMichigan

Odds Tips

*Odds according to Vegas Insider on March 20. 

Round 2: (6) Baylor -2.5 vs. (11) Nebraska 

This should be a good game between two solid teams, but Nebraska can't handle Baylor.

The Bears ride into this tournament having won 10 of 12 to close out the season. Guard Kenny Chery has been at the heart of the turnaround. After being limited by injuries for much of the season, Chery finally got healthy and returned to the starting lineup.

He began stuffing the stat sheet and grabbing attention.  

NBC's Rob Dauster took notice: 

Chery has plenty of talent around him. He teams up with Cory Jefferson to give the Bears a solid inside/outside punch. Jefferson averaged 13.5 points and 8.4 rebounds per game this season.

The Bears' strong play at the end of the season won't scare Nebraska. The Cornhuskers also finished the season playing their best basketball.

The problem for the Cornhuskers in this game is that they won't be able to hang down low. Nebraska doesn't have a player who averaged more than 5.8 rebounds per game, and it is just 251st in the nation in rebounding. 

Meanwhile, Baylor is an excellent rebounding team and checks in at 24th in the nation in that department. Take Baylor and give the points. 

Prediction: Baylor 71, Nebraska 60

Round 2: (7) New Mexico -2 vs. (10) Stanford

New Mexico hasn't generated the buzz it deserves. Perhaps it is the residual effect of the Lobos losing in the round of 64 last year as a three seed. That loss came to Harvard, and as we saw with Harvard's victory over No. 5 Cincinnati on Thursday, the Crimson are no fluke.

My point is, that loss shouldn't be held against the Lobos this year. This team enters the tournament having won nine of their last 10 and has a complete team. 

Stanford is not entering this tournament with much momentum. The Cardinal lost four of their last seven. That included a 25-point blowout loss to UCLA in the Pac-12 tournament. 

Junior guard Chasson Randle drives the Cardinal offense. He scored 18.7 points per game this season, and it's always good to have an experienced and talented guard in this tournament. 

New Mexico will be able to answer right back at guard with senior point guard Kendall Williams. He averaged 16.4 points and 4.9 assists per game.

Still, it is on the inside where New Mexico will earn the advantage. The Lobos feature senior forward Cameron Bairstow, who averages 20.4 points per game. They also have emerging center Alex Kirk. The seven-footer has gotten better as the season progressed. 

This will be too much firepower and length for Stanford to handle. 

Prediction: New Mexico 64, Stanford 58

Round 3: (9) Pittsburgh +6 vs. (1) Florida

As you may have noticed, I picked Pittsburgh to upset No. 1 overall seed Florida. I didn't pick this upset in my bracket, but after watching the action on Thursday, I've changed my tune.

Pitt blew out Colorado 77-48 on Thursday, and the game was never close. Pitt led 46-18 at halftime.

Senior forward Talib Zanna was unstoppable inside. He scored 16 of his 18 points in the first half while making six of his seven shots. Obviously, things will be more difficult against the talented and experienced Gators, but Florida got off to a slow start in this tournament. 

Playing No. 16 seed Albany, Florida emerged with a 67-55 victory, but trailed for stretches of the game and didn't pull away until late. 

It would be foolish to overreact to a slow start for the Gators, but Florida has also been flirting with losses toward the end of the season. If the Gators have a slow stretch in this game, the Panthers can bury them. 

They certainly aren't going to wilt in the face of the Gators.

After being asked if Pitt would be intimidated by playing the nation's No. 1 team, Lamar Patterson, who finished the game with 10 points and four assists, was quoted by Paul Zeise in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette as saying: "Intimidation? Do you know anything about Pittsburgh basketball? No, we are never intimidated."

This is going to be a tough, low-scoring game, which makes six points a big cushion for the Panthers. I don't think they'll need it. 

Prediction: Pitt 61, Florida 57 


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