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

R. Cory Smith@@RCorySmithSenior Writer IMarch 22, 2014

Mercer'sJakob Gollon, right, and Bud Thomas embrace after defeating Duke 78-71 in an NCAA college basketball second-round game against Duke, Friday, March 21, 2014, in Raleigh, N.C.  (AP Photo/Chuck Burton)
Chuck Burton/Associated Press

Now that brackets are thoroughly shattered along with the dreams of several top seeds coming into the NCAA tournament, it's time to just enjoy March for what it is—madness at its finest.

Whether it was the likes of North Dakota State winning its first ever tournament game on Day 1 or Mercer knocking off Duke to clinch its first victory in the NCAA field on Day 2, there wasn't a stale moment in the round of 64.

All Your Bracket Essentials

As the field now turns its sights toward the round of 32, seven double-digit seeds remain with hopes of reaching the Sweet 16 or even the Elite Eight and beyond. Cinderella teams like NDSU and Harvard will once again take the stage on Saturday to see if the glass slipper still fits.

Before the action in the round of 32 officially gets underway, here's a look at the final scores from Friday, along with a look ahead to the rest of the weekend's schedule.

Round of 64 Schedule (Friday, March 21)
SouthNo. 7 New MexicoNo. 10 StanfordStanford 58-53
SouthNo. 2 KansasNo. 15 E. KentuckyKansas 80-69
SouthNo. 5 VCUNo. 12 Stephen F. AustinSFA 77-75
SouthNo. 4 UCLANo. 13 TulsaUCLA 76-59
EastNo. 8 MemphisNo. 9 Geo. WashingtonMemphis 71-66
EastNo. 6 North CarolinaNo. 11 ProvidenceUNC 79-77
EastNo. 1 VirginiaNo. 16 Coastal CarolinaVirginia 70-59
EastNo. 3 Iowa StateNo. 14 NC CentralISU 93-75
MidwestNo. 3 DukeNo. 14 MercerMercer 78-71
MidwestNo. 6 UMassNo. 11 TennesseeTennessee 86-67
MidwestNo. 1 Wichita StateNo. 16 Cal PolyWSU 64-37
MidwestNo. 8 KentuckyNo. 9 Kansas StateKentucky 56-49
WestNo. 6 BaylorNo. 11 NebraskaBaylor 74-60
WestNo. 1 ArizonaNo. 16 Weber StateArizona 68-59
WestNo. 3 CreightonNo. 14 UL-LafayetteCreighton 76-66
WestNo. 8 GonzagaNo. 9 Oklahoma StateGonzaga 85-77
NCAA Tournament Schedule and Picks for Saturday, March 22
SouthNo. 1 Florida vs. No. 9 PittsburghFlorida
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 StateNorth Dakota State
WestNo. 7 Oregon vs. No. 2 WisconsinWisconsin
MidwestNo. 5 Saint Louis vs. No. 4 LouisvilleLouisville
MidwestNo. 7 Texas vs. No. 2 MichiganMichigan
NCAA Tournament Schedule and Picks for Sunday, March 23
SouthNo. 10 Stanford vs. No. 2 KansasKansas
SouthNo. 12 Stephen F. Austin vs. No. 4 UCLAUCLA
EastNo. 8 Memphis vs. No. 1 VirginiaVirginia
EastNo. 6 North Carolina vs. No. 3 Iowa StateNorth Carolina
WestNo. 8 Gonzaga vs. No. 1 ArizonaArizona
WestNo. 6 Baylor vs. No. 3 CreightonCreighton
MidwestNo. 14 Mercer vs. No. 11 TennesseeMercer
MidwestNo. 8 Kentucky vs. No. 1 Wichita StateWichita State


Odds Advice

Syracuse (-7) vs. Dayton

After a terrific start to the season, the Syracuse Orange have struggled down the stretch and stumbled their way into a No. 3 seed after being a near lock for a 1 seed.

What this all means for Dayton is that the Orange are now ripe for the picking. But with talent at nearly every spot on the court and offensive firepower that can take down any opponent, Cuse once again looked like a contender for the National Championship.

One of the biggest reasons for the team's success in the opener against Western Michigan was the resurgence of Trevor Cooney. The three-point assassin got going from behind the arc and led the team in scoring, as SportsCenter notes:

Along with Cooney, the Orange have the likes of C.J. Fair, Tyler Ennis and Jerami Grant who can all spread the ball around and score with ease. As for the defense of Cuse, it goes without saying that Jim Boeheim's version of the 2-3 zone makes for one of the toughest sets in the country to break.

Picking against the Orange isn't a smart bet to take. Seth Davis of CBS found that out last year after the opener for Syracuse, as he had to wear an orange wig on air. Dan Dakich of ESPN also stuck to his word and paid off a bet for ESPN CNY by singing

Though Dayton pulled off the shocker over Ohio State University and got in-state bragging rights, the Flyers will need a Herculean effort to take down Syracuse. Take the points and the win for Syracuse in this one.

Prediction: Syracuse 81, Dayton 72


North Dakota State (+3) vs. San Diego State

Don't let the seeding fool you with North Dakota State.

After putting on a memorable performance against Oklahoma in their tournament opener, the Bison are primed for another upset against San Diego State. Head coach Saul Phillips has his team in the tournament for the first time ever and plans to get to a Sweet 16, per Sporting News:

For a school that is most known for its football, the basketball program is now the one making noise. Thanks to sharp shooting from Lawrence Alexander, who finished with 28 points, a .667 shooting percentage and going 4-of-7 from behind the arc against the Sooners, the Bison might wear the glass slipper all the way into the Sweet 16.

Along with Alexander, senior TrayVonn Wright is a versatile scorer for NDSU and Taylor Braun is the assassin that helped put the Bison over the top. With that type of scoring on its side, North Dakota State will continue it's glorious run over San Diego State.

Prediction: North Dakota State 76, San Diego State 73


Wisconsin (-4) vs. Oregon

Coming in as a No. 2 seed, Wisconsin was not a trendy pick to make it to the Final Four. But after a convincing 75-35 win over American University on Thursday, the Badgers showed they can score and shut teams down defensively.

American was a slow, methodical team that wore down the clock with possessions, but they were undone by Wisconsin's effort on both ends of the court. The Badgers will have to prove themselves yet again when they face off against a fast-paced Oregon team that is just as flashy on offense as their jerseys.

Despite the huge change in offensive styles between their first and second games, junior Josh Gasser spoke about the team's confidence facing the Ducks, per Mike Lucas of

We’ve seen teams that like to get up and down and we’ve seen teams that like to slow it down. A team like Oregon is going to push the pace a little bit more and try to play above the rim a little bit more.

It’s definitely going to be a different type team than we faced (Thursday). They will play faster and there will be more athletes on the floor. But if we follow our rules and the scouting report defensively you can see what can happen.

Along with Gasser, the rest of the team clearly doesn't appear to be lacking any confidence or charisma. Freshman Nigel Hayes had some fun with his coach in a video posted by the Badgers' official Twitter account:

Senior Ben Brust had his scoring touch as he contributed 17 points in the opening game for the Badgers to go along with Traevon Jackson's team-leading 18. As for the Ducks, the sharp shooting of Joseph Young and inside presence of Elgin Cook, who combined for 42 points against BYU, could be enough to keep them in the game.

But with Brust approaching the school's career three-point shooting record—he needs just three to tie Tim Locum—the senior will be motivated to get the job done from behind the arc.

While Oregon might look like a team that can cover the spread and potentially even win, trust the Badgers to win by five or more over the Ducks.

Prediction: Wisconsin 76, Oregon 68


Follow R. Cory Smith on Twitter. He goes hard in the paint.


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