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

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NCAA Bracket 2014: Picks, Odds Advice, Updated Schedule After 2nd-Round Day 2
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)
Region Team Team Result
South No. 7 New Mexico No. 10 Stanford Stanford 58-53
South No. 2 Kansas No. 15 E. Kentucky Kansas 80-69
South No. 5 VCU No. 12 Stephen F. Austin SFA 77-75
South No. 4 UCLA No. 13 Tulsa UCLA 76-59
Region Team Team Result
East No. 8 Memphis No. 9 Geo. Washington Memphis 71-66
East No. 6 North Carolina No. 11 Providence UNC 79-77
East No. 1 Virginia No. 16 Coastal Carolina Virginia 70-59
East No. 3 Iowa State No. 14 NC Central ISU 93-75
Region Team Team Result
Midwest No. 3 Duke No. 14 Mercer Mercer 78-71
Midwest No. 6 UMass No. 11 Tennessee Tennessee 86-67
Midwest No. 1 Wichita State No. 16 Cal Poly WSU 64-37
Midwest No. 8 Kentucky No. 9 Kansas State Kentucky 56-49
Region Team Team Result
West No. 6 Baylor No. 11 Nebraska Baylor 74-60
West No. 1 Arizona No. 16 Weber State Arizona 68-59
West No. 3 Creighton No. 14 UL-Lafayette Creighton 76-66
West No. 8 Gonzaga No. 9 Oklahoma State Gonzaga 85-77

NCAA.com

NCAA Tournament Schedule and Picks for Saturday, March 22
Region Matchup Pick
South No. 1 Florida vs. No. 9 Pittsburgh Florida
South No. 11 Dayton vs. No. 3 Syracuse Syracuse
East No. 12 Harvard vs. No. 4 Michigan State Michigan State
East No. 7 Connecticut vs. No. 2 Villanova Villanova
West No. 12 North Dakota State vs. No. 4 San Diego State North Dakota State
West No. 7 Oregon vs. No. 2 Wisconsin Wisconsin
Midwest No. 5 Saint Louis vs. No. 4 Louisville Louisville
Midwest No. 7 Texas vs. No. 2 Michigan Michigan

NCAA.com

NCAA Tournament Schedule and Picks for Sunday, March 23
Region Matchup Pick
South No. 10 Stanford vs. No. 2 Kansas Kansas
South No. 12 Stephen F. Austin vs. No. 4 UCLA UCLA
East No. 8 Memphis vs. No. 1 Virginia Virginia
East No. 6 North Carolina vs. No. 3 Iowa State North Carolina
West No. 8 Gonzaga vs. No. 1 Arizona Arizona
West No. 6 Baylor vs. No. 3 Creighton Creighton
Midwest No. 14 Mercer vs. No. 11 Tennessee Mercer
Midwest No. 8 Kentucky vs. No. 1 Wichita State Wichita State

NCAA.com

 

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 UWBadgers.com:

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:

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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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