NCAA Scores 2021: Odds, Spread Predictions, Betting Advice for Monday's Bracket

Joe Tansey@JTansey90Featured ColumnistMarch 22, 2021

NCAA Scores 2021: Odds, Spread Predictions, Betting Advice for Monday's Bracket

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    John Locher/Associated Press

    The Oregon Ducks are the only team in the NCAA men's basketball tournament that has not played a game yet. 

    On Monday, the Pac-12 side will get a chance to show off its abilities against the second-seeded Iowa Hawkeyes in the second round. Oregon's first-round game with the VCU Rams was ruled a no-contest because of COVID-19 protocols. 

    The Ducks have the right combination of coach and player experience that could propel them to a long run, but no one is sure how the extra days off will affect their play on the court. 

    On paper, Oregon and Iowa looks like an even matchup, but since the Hawkeyes are the higher seed, they are favored by the oddsmakers. 

    After Oregon tips off the eight-game slate, three of its Pac-12 running mates will hit the courts across the Indianapolis area, but only one appears to be a good bet to advance to the Sweet 16. 

Monday 2nd-Round Schedule and Odds

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    Paul Sancya/Associated Press

    Odds via DraftKings Sportsbook.

    No. 2 Iowa (-5.5) vs. No. 7 Oregon (12:10 p.m. ET, CBS)

    No. 1 Gonzaga (-14) vs. No. 8 Oklahoma (2:40 p.m. ET, CBS)

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

    No. 5 Creighton (-5.5) vs. No. 13 Ohio (6:10 p.m. ET, TNT)

    No. 1 Michigan (-5) vs. No. 8 LSU (7:10 p.m. ET, CBS)

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

    No. 2 Alabama (-5.5) vs. No. 10 Maryland (8:45 p.m. ET, TNT)

    No. 3 Kansas vs. No. 6 USC (-1.5 )(9:40 p.m. ET, CBS)

    Predictions against the spread in bold. 

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Oregon (+5.5) vs. Iowa

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    Amanda Loman/Associated Press

    Oregon will play its first game in 10 days on Monday, but unlike other breaks during the season, the Ducks have been able to practice.

    The Ducks suffered two losses at the end of January after an extended layoff, but that was due to a COVID-related shutdown with their program. 

    Dana Altman's team has been able to practice and go through normal routines in Indianapolis since VCU's COVID situation forced the no contest on Saturday. 

    Prior to the Pac-12 tournament, the Ducks were playing some of the best basketball in the country with a 10-2 record from February 4-March 7. 

    In its Pac-12 first-round win over the Arizona State Sun Devils, Oregon showed how dominant it can be, as five players reached double figures and it knocked down 10 three-point shots. 

    Oregon could find a similar level of success against an Iowa defense that has been suspect against some of nation's best teams.

    Iowa let up 75 points or more in eight clashes with NCAA tournament qualifiers. It gave up 99 points to the Gonzaga Bulldogs and allowed over 80 in two meetings with the Illinois Fighting Illini.

    Iowa's other weakness is on an individual level with Luka Garza, who has struggled in some matchups with other top big men. He had 19 points and four rebounds in his first clash with Illinois' Kofi Cockburn and earned 16 points and four rebounds versus Hunter Dickinson of Michigan. 

    Oregon's Eugene Omoruyi should challenge Garza on every possession. He leads Oregon with 16.7 points per game and could draw the Iowa big man outside of the paint since he shoots 38.7 percent from three-point range. 

    If Oregon takes Garza out of his comfort zone, it could win the guard battle through Chris Duarte and Will Richardson and pick up a victory. Oregon has five players who average over 10 points per game, while Iowa only has three. 

    The Ducks also hold the edge in coaching experience, as Altman guided them to the Sweet 16 in their last three NCAA tournament appearances. Iowa was knocked out in the round of 32 in its last three appearances. 

UCLA (-4.5) vs. Abilene Christian

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    David Zalubowski/Associated Press

    The UCLA Bruins could become the fourth team to win a First Four game and advance to the Sweet 16 on Monday. 

    Mick Cronin's team may be forced to grind out a win against the tough defense of the Abilene Christian Wildcats, but it should have the offensive advantage. 

    UCLA put up 159 points against the Michigan State Spartans and BYU Cougars. In each game, its leading scorer produced 27 points. 

    Sophomore guard Johnny Juzang recorded back-to-back 20-point games and he eclipsed that total three times in the last five games. 

    Juzang is one of five healthy Bruins players who average over 10 points per game, and he is one of a few ball-handlers who can avoid the high turnover rate Abilene Christian forced in the first round against the Texas Longhorns. 

    The Southland Conference tournament champion forced Texas into 23 turnovers, but it could not pull away because it shot 29.9 percent from the field. 

    Abilene Christian only shoots two-tenths of a percentage point worse than UCLA, but there is a larger disparity in shooting from the free-throw line and three-point range. 

    The Bruins hold a 1.4 percentage point advantage from deep and shoot almost five percentage points better from the charity stripe. UCLA also has two more players who average over 10 points per game. 

    If those averages hold, UCLA should be able to close out the game and cover the 4.5-point spread to give the Pac-12 at least two Sweet 16 teams. 

    At minimum, the Bruins should face an easier test than the USC Trojans and Colorado Buffaloes, who take on two established powers in the Kansas Jayhawks and Florida State Seminoles.


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    Statistics obtained from