March Madness odds, picks and predictions for Sunday’s NCAA Round 2 tournament games
The rest of the Sweet 16 field will be filled on Sunday, and it’s a big day, literally, for two conferences.
The Big Ten has five teams in action and the Big 12 has four teams trying to win second-round games in the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament. This includes No. 3 seeds in Wisconsin, Purdue and Texas Tech. The other six teams are underdogs, and that includes fourth seed Illinois.
Will these conferences take advantage of a huge day? Sporting News has ATS picks for every game in the second round.
Odds provided by Sports Interaction
March Madness Picks, Round 2 Predictions
No. 5 Houston (-4.5) vs. No. 4 Illinois (south)
Houston is 23-12 ATS this season, the best record of any team remaining in the NCAA Tournament. The Illini squeaked out a win over Chattanooga in the first round. The line dipped half a point in some books, and Illinois certainly has rebound potential as an underdog. The Cougars are a strong defensive team, and they need to contain Kofi Cockrburn in the paint. Houston is limiting opposing teams to 29% shooting from 3-pointers, and that will be a difference maker here. Despite the betting trends moving towards Illinois, we are going the other way.
Take: Houston wins and covers the spread.
No. 2 Villanova (-5.5) vs. No. 7 Ohio State (South)
Ohio State is 5-4 ATS as an underdog, and the Buckeyes got a boost with the return of forward Kyle Young. EJ Liddell is going to be a challenge for the Villanova frontline of Eric Dixon and Brandon Slater. Collin Gillespie, Justin Moore and Jermaine Samuels combined for nine 3-pointers in Villanova’s first-round victory. The Buckeyes have a chance here, especially if Malaki Branham can leave. It’s the best match of the day, but Villanova survives.
Take: Villanova wins but DOES NOT COVER the spread.
DECOURCY: Daniels embodies the spirit of the Villanova program
No. 2 Duke (-6.5) vs. No. 7 Michigan State (west)
This is the sixth and final head-to-head tournament match between Mike Krzyzewski and Tom Izzo, and it should be another instant classic between the coaching rivals. The Spartans have had success against the Blue Devils in the tournament when they can force turnovers early, and it’s up to a young Duke to stay calm near home in Greenville. If Paulo Banchero and Mark Williams avoid fouls, then Duke will be fine. This line is right on the number.
Take: Duke wins and COVERS the spread.
DECOURCY: Duke avoids mistake in NCAA Tournament debut
MORE: Coach K vs. Tom Izzo by the numbers
No. 3 Wisconsin (-4.5) vs. No. 11 Iowa State (Midwest)
Tyrese Hunter was brilliant for the Cyclones in the first round. He hit seven 3-pointers in an upset against LSU, and the Cyclones are 12-6 ATS as an underdog this season. The Badgers are 8-4 ATS when favored by five runs or less, and Johnny Davis came off a mini-drop with 25 runs against Colgate. The Badgers will control the tempo and close out the game with Brad Davison and Davis on the line. It leads to last minute coverage.
Take: Wisconsin wins and covers the spread.
No. 3 Texas Tech (-7.5) vs. No. 11 Notre Dame (West)
Does Notre Dame have enough in the tank for a third win in five days? The Irish have shot 45.7% from 3-point range in two tournament games, and that must continue against the Red Raiders’ solid defense. Texas Tech is 12-2 S/U in non-conference games, but the Red Raiders are 8-6 ATS in those games as well. The Irish make enough shots to trail and sneak into late cover.
Take: Texas Tech wins but DOES NOT COVER the spread.
No. 2 Auburn (-7.5) vs. No. 10 Miami (Midwest)
The Hurricanes have been a super dog all season. Miami is 10-2 ATS as an underdog, and they caused another upset against USC in the first round. Jabari Smith and Walker Kessler each had a double-double for Auburn in their first-round victory, and the Hurricanes weren’t a strong rebounding team. It will be the difference in the second half when the Tigers retire.
Take: Auburn wins and COVERS the spread.
No. 3 Purdue (-3.5) vs. No. 6 Texas (East)
Texas hasn’t been a strong underdog this season. The Longhorns are 2-6 S/U and 2-6 ATS in this situation, but Chris Beard is a proven tournament coach with an 11-4 S/U record in the Big Dance. The Longhorns are allowing 60 points per game, but they must match Purdue’s massive front line that includes Zach Edey and Trevion Williams. We’ve seen it work for Beard against Big Ten teams in the past.
Take: Texas wins in an UPSET.
No. 1 Arizona (-9.5) vs. No. 9 TCU (south)
The Wildcats are on a seven-game winning streak, but are 4-3 ATS in those seven games. The Horned Frogs are battle tested in the Big 12, and they are 4-5 S/U against ranked opponents. That includes wins over Kansas and Texas Tech. Jamie Dixon works with a top-40 scoring defense, but the Wildcats have scored over 70 points in all but three games this season. It might be tight, but that’s a lot to cover.
Take: Arizona wins but DOES NOT COVER the spread.
MORE: History of the losing No. 1 seeds in the Round of 16