March Madness 2014: Bracket Predictions, Odds, Tips for 2nd-Round Day 2 Schedule

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March Madness 2014: Bracket Predictions, Odds, Tips for 2nd-Round Day 2 Schedule
Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

The second day of the round of 64 has a tough act to follow. The NCAA tournament was kicked into high gear on Thursday. In the first four games of the round of 64, there were two upsets.

Dayton, a  No. 11 seed, beat Ohio State (6) on a buzzer-beater. Meanwhile, 12th-seeded Harvard pulled off a second-round upset for the second straight year by besting Cincinnati (5), 61-57.

I'm going to look ahead and pinpoint what kind of madness Friday has in store. 

Have a look at the schedule and my winners for Friday, and then I'll take a closer look at three spreads worth making a play on. 

 

All Your Bracket Essentials

 

Schedule 

NCAA Tournament Schedule and Picks for Friday, March 21
Region Matchup Time (ET) TV Pick
Midwest No. 3 Duke vs. No. 14 Mercer 12:15 p.m. CBS Duke
West No. 6 Baylor vs. No. 11 Nebraska 12:40 p.m. truTV Baylor
South No. 7 New Mexico vs. No. 10 Stanford 1:40 p.m. TBS New Mexico
West No. 1 Arizona vs. No. 16 Weber St. 2:10 p.m. TNT Arizona
Midwest No. 6 UMass vs. No. 11 Tennessee 2:30 p.m. CBS Tennessee
West No. 3 Creighton vs. No. 14 UL-Lafayette 3:10 p.m. truTV Creighton
South No. 2 Kansas vs. No. 15 E. Kentucky 4:10 p.m. TBS Kansas
West No. 8 Gonzaga vs. No. 9 Oklahoma St. 4:40 p.m. TNT Gonzaga
East No. 8 Memphis vs. No. 9 Geo. Washington 6:55 p.m. TBS G. Washington
Midwest No. 1 Wichita St. vs. No. 16 Cal Poly 7:10 p.m. CBS Wichita State
South No. 5 VCU vs. No. 12 SF Austin 7:27 p.m. truTV SF Austin
East No. 6 North Carolina vs. No. 11 Providence 7:20 p.m. TNT North Carolina
East No. 1 Virginia vs. No. 16 Coastal Carolina 9:25 p.m. TBS Virginia
Midwest No. 8 Kentucky vs. No. 9 Kansas St. 9:40 p.m. CBS Kansas State
Midwest No. 3 Iowa St. vs. No 14 N.C. Central 9:50 p.m. TNT Iowa State
South No. 4 UCLA vs. No. 13 Tulsa 9:57 p.m. truTV UCLA

 

Odds Tips

*Odds according to Vegas Insider on March 20. 

No. 6 Baylor (-2.5) vs. No. 11 Nebraska 

Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

The Baylor Bears are an underrated commodity in this tournament. Scott Drew had his team peaking at the end of the season, and the Bears are ready to make waves. 

Baylor won 10 of 12 to close out the season. Guard Kenny Chery was a big reason why. Chery was held back by injuries for much of this season, but he got his health, returned to the starting lineup and was fantastic. 

NBC Sports.com's Rob Dauster gives us an idea of just how well the junior guard was playing to close out the season:

With Chery at the helm and Cory Jefferson posting 13.5 points and 8.4 rebounds per game down low, the Bears have a complete team. Nebraska is a tough opponent, however, and the small spread is understandable.

The Cornhuskers also finished the season playing their best basketball. They are less then two weeks removed from beating Wisconsin by nine. The Cornhuskers like to keep the score down and wear out opponents with defense. 

That won't be possible in this game because Baylor is going to dominate on the boards to limit Nebraska's shots and get easy looks of their own. Baylor is 24th in the nation in rebounding. Nebraska is 251st. 

The Bears will dominate on the boards and build on their momentum. 

Prediction: Baylor 71, Nebraska 60

 

No. 9 George Washington (+2.5) vs. No. 8 Memphis 

Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports

Memphis is a dangerous team, but the Tigers are wildly inconsistent. Of their nine losses this year, six were by double digits. That includes two blowout losses in their last three games.

The Tigers have to be able to score to win. Senior guard Joe Jackson leads the team in scoring at 14.3 points per game, and Memphis is 35th in the nation in scoring. 

George Washington is going to make it tough for Memphis to score. With guards Maurice Creek and Kethan Savage, the Colonials can defend on the perimeter. 

On offense, the Colonials have a well-balanced attack with six players averaging at least 8.3 points per game. They will use that offensive diversity for an efficient night and force Memphis into tough looks. 

I like the Colonials to win this game outright. The points are just a bonus. 

Prediction: George Washington 69, Memphis 64

 

No. 7 New Mexico (-2) vs. No. 10 Stanford

Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

After New Mexico entered the tournament as a No. 3 seed last year and promptly loss to Harvard in its first game, expectations on the Lobos are understandably tepid. This is a quality team, however.

The Lobos are also peaking at the right time as winners of nine of their last 10.

Senior point guard Kendall Williams averages 16.4 points and 4.9 assists per game and gives this team a steady hand. New Mexico is balanced, however, and senior forward Cameron Bairstow averages 20.3 points per game.

The Lobos also have one of the biggest wild cards in this tournament with junior center Alex Kirk. The 7-footer surged at the end of the season, and combined with Bairstow, the Lobos have one of the scariest frontcourts in the nation. 

Stanford is also a well-balanced team. Led by junior guard Chasson Randle (18.7 PPG) and forward Dwight Powell (14.2 PPG) and also has good depth in the frontcourt. 

That depth won't be enough to counter the combination of Bairstow and Kirk, and New Mexico will grind out this win. 

Prediction: New Mexico 64, Stanford 58

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