NCAA Tournament 2021: Tips for Odds, Over-Under Scores for Monday's Bracket

Jake RillFeatured Columnist IMarch 22, 2021

NCAA Tournament 2021: Tips for Odds, Over-Under Scores for Monday's Bracket

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    Paul Sancya/Associated Press

    The second round of the 2021 NCAA men's basketball tournament began Sunday, and it picked up right where the first round left off: with thrilling matchups and plenty of unpredictability. March Madness is living up to its name again this year.

    Oral Roberts is the second No. 15 seed in NCAA tournament history to reach the Sweet 16 after it scored another upset victory over No. 7-seeded Florida. The first No. 1 seed of the tourney was knocked off when Illinois lost to No. 8-seeded Loyola Chicago. And No. 11-seeded Syracuse and No. 12-seeded Oregon State were both victorious and advanced to the Sweet 16.

    What madness is in store for Monday, when the second round will be completed with eight more matchups? Gonzaga, the No. 1 overall seed, will be looking to stay undefeated, while No. 13-seeded Ohio and No. 14-seeded Abilene Christian will look to keep defying the odds by advancing to the Sweet 16.

    Here's a look at Monday's schedule, along with odds and picks for each of the eight remaining second-round matchups.

Monday Schedule, Odds, Picks

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    Mark Humphrey/Associated Press

    No. 2 Iowa (-5.5) vs. No. 7 Oregon; Over/Under 147.5 points (12:10 p.m. ET, CBS)

    No. 1 Gonzaga (-14.5) vs. No. 8 Oklahoma; O/U 154 (2:40 p.m. ET, CBS)

    No. 11 UCLA (-4.5) vs. No. 14 Abilene Christian; O/U 133.5 (5:15 p.m. ET, TBS)

    No. 5 Creighton (-5.5) vs. No. 13 Ohio; O/U 149 (6:10 p.m. ET, TNT)

    No. 1 Michigan (-5) vs. No. 8 LSU; O/U 149 (7:10 p.m. ET, CBS)

    No. 4 Florida State (-1.5) vs. No. 5 Colorado; O/U 141 (7:45 p.m. ET, TBS)

    No. 2 Alabama (-5.5) vs. No. 10 Maryland; O/U 138.5 (8:45 p.m. ET, TNT)

    No. 3 Kansas vs. No. 6 USC (-1); O/U 134.5 (9:40 p.m. ET, CBS)

    Picks in bold against the spread. Odds via DraftKings Sportsbook.

Gonzaga Will Win Big to Improve to 28-0

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    Paul Sancya/Associated Press

    Of Monday's eight second-round games, no team is a bigger favorite than Gonzaga, which will be taking on No. 8-seeded Oklahoma, a 14.5-point underdog. And there's a good reason for that line: the Bulldogs have been unbeatable all season.

    Gonzaga wasn't tested in the opening round (as expected), rolling to a 98-55 win over No. 16-seeded Norfolk State. Things will be a bit tougher in the second round, as Oklahoma is a better team. The Sooners, who had lost five of six games entering the tournament, got back on track with a 72-68 win over No. 9-seeded Missouri in the first round.

    Even when Gonzaga has played solid teams this season, it has still won by wide margins. For the Bulldogs to lose, it's going to take an unorthodox down game for them and an incredible showing from their opponent.

    That's not going to be the case on Monday. In fact, Gonzaga is likely to keep winning big and clear the 14.5-point spread for this matchup by winning by at least 15. It may be competitive early, but the Bulldogs are too talented to let the Sooners stay in it for the whole game.

Abilene Christian Could Score Another Upset Victory

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    Mark Humphrey/Associated Press

    Abilene Christian surprised a lot of people on Saturday when it knocked off No. 3-seeded Texas, holding on for a 53-52 victory. That was the Wildcats' first win in the NCAA tournament since becoming a Division I program for the 2013-14 season, and it was only the second March Madness game in program history.

    After a huge upset victory, Abilene Christian will be looking to beat a team that also won as an underdog in the first round in No. 11-seeded UCLA, which took down No. 6-seeded BYU. And although the Bruins are 4.5-point favorites, there's reason to believe the Wildcats may be on their way to another impressive win.

    In the opening round, Abilene Christian forced Texas to commit 23 turnovers. That's one of the Wildcats' biggest strength, as they rank first in the nation with 20.36 turnovers forced per game. UCLA commits 10.86 turnovers per game, so that could be a problem for the Bruins in this matchup.

    Could there be both a No. 14 seed and a No. 15 seed in this year's Sweet 16? Don't be surprised if it happens. Abilene Christian's defense will likely cause UCLA's offense some issues, and the Wildcats could again pull out a close win in another low-scoring matchup.

Maryland Should Give Alabama a Competitive Game

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    Robert Franklin/Associated Press

    Several top conference tournament winners have already been eliminated from the NCAA tourney, including Georgia Tech (ACC), Texas (Big 12), Georgetown (Big East) and Illinois (Big Ten). Will Alabama, which won the SEC regular-season and conference tournament titles, be the next?

    Let's not go that far. The Crimson Tide are a strong team, and they're going to have an edge in the rebounding battle against No. 10-seeded Maryland in Monday's matchup. However, the Tide are a 5.5-point favorite, and the Terrapins are capable of playing a game that could come down to the wire.

    Maryland had its ups and downs while playing some tough Big Ten competition this season. But the Terps showed what they're capable of in the first round, as they shot 51.2 percent from the field and 50 percent from three-point range in a 63-54 win over No. 7-seeded UConn.

    It's possible Maryland will pull off an upset against Alabama if it shoots that well again. However, expect Alabama's physicality to help it notch a close win in a game that could come down to the final shot.


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