Look below to find our top March Madness predictions for all the Second Round action in the East Bracket.
Saturday, March 19th, 2022
#1 Baylor vs #8 UNC – 12:10pm ET
Baylor beat number 16 seeded Norfolk State badly as the final score of that game was 85-49. North Carolina also beat the Golden Eagles of Marquette by 32 points to set up this second round matchup between these two power five schools. This game could potentially see the first number one seed get knocked out.
The North Carolina Tar Heels came into the opening round as favorites against Marquette but their performance left many people speechless. UNC won 95-63, scoring 53 points in the first half and shooting 46% from the field and 37% from deep. Unfortunately for them, they will have to face the defending champions Baylor in the second round. The tar Heels are five-point underdogs in this one and they have covered the spread in 5 of the last 6 games overall but in none of the last 6 tournament games as underdogs.
The Baylor Bears defeated Norfolk State in the opening round by 85-49. They shot 57% from the field and made 11 threes on 40% shooting while holding the opponent to only 31% shooting from the field. Still, UNC is a much more serious team and things will not go so smoothly on Saturday. Both teams are offensive oriented and will exchange baskets so this game will definitely go over 148.5 points. When it comes to the winner, the Bears will get this one in a tight game in which UNC will cover the 5-points spread.
Marko’s College Basketball Pick: Over 149 (-110)
Both of these teams are coming off of huge blowout victories. As the number one seeded Baylor Bears mauled Norfolk State. Baylor is the reigning and defending national champions and they will be looking to continue their quest for a repeat in this one against the Tar Heels. Baylor has looked shaky at times this season but when they are on point, Baylor is one of the best teams in the nation. This game has an upset alert written all over it.
— Baylor Men’s Basketball (@BaylorMBB) March 18, 2022
The North Carolina Tar Heels knocked the Golden Eagles off of their perch. When they smacked Marquette from the opening tip they showed the nation that this is not the same North Carolina team that started the season. With the way they are playing at the moment they look like a serious title contender. This is one of my upset picks as I believe the Baylor Bears will be the first number one overall seed to fall in this tournament and end their dream of winning back to back titles.
Tony’s College Basketball Pick: North Carolina (+198)
This has the potential to be one of the best games of the second round. Baylor has been one of the best teams in the country all year long, but they’ve been dealing with a few key injuries lately, which has some concerned about their chances at repeating as champions. They ran over Norfolk State in their opener of the tournament, but they now get a red-hot North Carolina team that can cause some real problems.
North Carolina started the year extremely slow, but picked up steam late, and are now playing like one of the best teams in the country. They absolutely demolished a good Marquette team in the first round, which showed just how high their ceiling is when they play well. In the end, I’m taking Baylor hesitantly in this one, assuming James Akinjo is a go for this one. The Bears win, but it comes down to the wire.
Noah’s College Basketball Pick: Baylor (-245)
#5 Saint Mary’s vs #4 UCLA – 7:10pm ET
The Saint Marys Gaels avoided the tragic 12 vs 5 upset and beat the Indiana Hoosiers by a score of 83-52 on Thursday. Meanwhile, the UCLA Bruins survived a scare against the Akron Zips to survive and advance into this second round matchup on Saturday.
Saint Mary’s is coming off an impressive 82-53 win over Indiana in the opening round. The Gaels showed that they can beat anybody as they defeated Gonzaga in the regular season but after their first-round performance, they look like a really serious team. They are a three-point underdog in the game against UCLA but will definitely have their chance at winning this one. The Gaels are an excellent defensive team ranked 8th in the nation allowing 59.4 points per game and 9th allowing only 27 rebounds per game.
UCLA was on the verge of a huge upset, winning against Akron much tougher than expected by 57-53. That was the Bruins sixth win in the last seven games after losing the conference final against Arizona. The Bruins are coming into the game against Saint Mary’s as slight favorites but if they don’t play their best basketball they might be out. UCLA has covered the spread in the last 6 of the last 7 tournament games but only once in the last six against teams with a winning record.
Marko’s College Basketball Pick: Saint Marys +3 (-110)
The Gaels ended any talk of an upset when they blasted a red-hot Indiana Hoosiers team on Thursday evening. Saint Mary’s would end up winning that first round matchup by a score of 82-53, sending Indiana packing for the year. Now they will play a fellow West Coast team in this one when they meet the UCLA Bruins. This is a game that will end up being one of the best of the weekend in my opinion. Saint Mary’s is one of my final four teams personally.
𝙊𝙣 𝙩𝙤 𝙩𝙝𝙚 𝙣𝙚𝙭𝙩 𝙜𝙖𝙢𝙚 …
No. 4-seed UCLA (26-7) will take on No. 5-seed Saint Mary’s (26-7) in a second-round NCAA Tournament contest on Saturday.
— UCLA Men’s Basketball (@UCLAMBB) March 18, 2022
The UCLA Bruins have had a very weird season that has been constantly disrupted by COVID-19 protocols. They survived a scare from the Akron Zips in the first round on Thursday evening. Due to the constant disruptions of their season, they have been inconsistent throughout the year. I think that finally comes back to haunt them in this one. As I have Saint Mary’s getting the win over the UCLA Bruins
Tony’s College Basketball Pick: Saint Marys (+128)
After a slow start to their first round matchup against Indiana, Saint Mary’s stormed back to take care of business, with a nearly 30 point win. The Gaels were the second best team in the WCC all year long, only behind Gonzaga, and now they’re trying to show that they’re the real deal that can make a deep run in the tournament.
They’ll have their hands full in this one, as they take on a UCLA team that made the Final Four last year, and with much of the same pieces, managed to finish second in the Pac-12 this year. They’ve struggled at times this year, as they’ve dealt with some injury problems, and that continued in the first round, as they narrowly avoided an upset to Akron. They do have everyone back, and if Johnny Juzang and Jaime Jaquez play well they can make a deep run, but I actually like the discipline and shot making of the Gaels quite a bit. Give me Saint Mary’s to pull off the upset here, and advance to the Sweet Sixteen.
Noah’s College Basketball Pick: Saint Marys (+128)
#15 Saint Peters vs #7 Murray State – 7:45pm ET
Saint Peters shocked the Kentucky Wildcats to stop an all Kentucky matchup from happening in this one. While Murray State played a close down to the wire game with San Fransisco that ended with a score of 92-87 in favor of the Racers. Now, these two will face off for a spot in the Sweet Sixteen next week.
Saint Peters is the top story of the tournament so far as they managed to defeat the second seed Kentucky Wildcats 75-69 in overtime. Only 3% of the brackets were left in the game after the Peacocks stunning performance. This is by far the biggest win in school history. The Peacocks finished the regular season second in the MAC but managed to win the conference title defeating Monmouth in the finals 60-54. After defeating one of the biggest programs in the nation, the game against Murray State looks like a huge possibility to get into the next round. They are an 8-point underdog but they showed against Kentucky that they don’t care about predictions.
Murray State had a tough time in the opening round defeating San Francisco 92-87 in overtime. Five players scored in double-figures led by KJ Williams and Trae Hannibal with 18 points each. The Racers have lost only two games this season but they showed their vulnerability in the last game. Going in as an 8-point favorite certainly means something but if they don’t step up they might see their way out today. Murray State has covered the spread in 5 of the last 6 games against teams with a winning record.
Marko’s College Basketball Pick: Saint Peters
The Saint Peter’s Peacocks got the most shocking upset of the week when they took down John Calapari and the Kentucky Wildcats in the first round. The 15th seeded Peacocks will be looking to shock the nation again, against another team from the state of Kentucky when they take on Murray State. This should be a good game between two really good mid-major schools.
— Murray State MBB (@RacersHoops) March 18, 2022
The Murray State Racers are another one of my three mid-major schools I have making it to the final four this season. The Racers had a great game with the San Francisco Dons in the first round where they came out with a 92-87 victory on Thursday evening. I think Murray State is one of the best teams in the nation but they get highly overlooked because of their mid-major status. As for the result of this game, Murray State is going to pick up another win in my opinion.
Tony’s College Basketball Pick: Murray State
In the biggest upset of the first round, the Saint Peters Peacocks knocked off Kentucky to advance to the second round. Led by Darryl Banks III, KC Ndefo, and Doug Edert, they managed to sneak away in overtime, as the Wildcats simply couldn’t get anything going from the outside. Now they take on the team with the longest winning streak in the country, the Murray State Racers.
Murray State hasn’t lost since the middle of December, as they’re now at 21 straight, but needed overtime to overcome the upset bid of San Francisco in the first round. While the Saint Peters run has been magical, I think it comes to an end here, as they simply aren’t as good as the run they’ve been on, and after knocking off Kentucky, I don’t think the Racers overlook them. Give me Murray State in a reasonably close one.
Noah’s College Basketball Pick: Murray State
Sunday, March 20th, 2022
#3 Purdue vs #11 Texas – 10pm ET
Purdue took the Ivy League champions, the Yale Bulldogs to the woodshed and won by double-digits. Meanwhile, Texas upset a red hot Virginia Tech Hokies team to make it to the first weekend of the tournament. Now these two schools will square off in what should be a huge game.
Another tight game is expected in Milwaukee where Purdue will face Texas. The Boilermakers are coming off a 78-56 win over Yale in the opening round. Purdue shot 43% from the field and 31% from the three-point line which does not look very promising as Texas is one of the best defensive teams in the country. Still, Purdue is one of the best shooting teams in the league as they are ranked third in field goal percentage with 49.7% and in three-point shooting with 39.7%. The Boilermakers are a 3.5-point favorites in this one and they will find a way to cover that.
The Texas Longhorns are a good team but the lack of consistency looks like a real problem. Texas defeated Virginia Tech in the first round by 71-63 in a match that saw more points than usual when Texas play. The Longhorns are ranked ninth in the league allowing 59.5 points per game in a category they lead in most of the season. There is no way they will hold Purdue under 60 maybe even 70 points, meaning that the Longhorns will have to do a lot of scoring themselves. Texas has covered the spread in 6 of the last 8 games as underdog but in only 1 in the last 11 tournament games.
Marko’s College Basketball Pick: Purdue -3.5 (-110)
Texas put their foot down and stopped the run of the Virginia Tech Hokies on Friday evening. Now the Longhorns will get their shot at taking down one of the best teams in the nation in this game when they go head to head with the Purdue Boilermakers. This is the lone game from the East Bracket that takes place on Sunday, as the other three games take place on Saturday. The Longhorns haven’t been to the sweet sixteen in fourteen years and they are on the doorstep in this one.
— Purdue Mens Basketball (@BoilerBall) March 18, 2022
The Purdue Boilermakers are many peoples favorites teams to win the national championship this season. They have had a great season but have been prone to upsets at times. I think this is a game they will take total control of early on enroute to a comfortable win. I have Purdue making a much deeper run in the NCAA tournament and them losing before the elite eight just doesn’t seem possible. Which is why I’m taking the Boilermakers to beat Texas in this game.
Tony’s College Basketball Pick: Purdue (-166)
Texas ended the great run from Virginia Tech in the first round, after they used a string first half to get a nice lead, before hanging on throughout the second half. The offense remains a problem, though the defense has continued to be one of the best in the country. They had a decent year through the Big-12, which should have them ready to take on elite competition, but I’m not sure they’re ready for this Purdue team.
Purdue spent much of the first half of the season as a top-5 team, even making it number one for a week, before slowing down just a bit through conference play. They then picked it up late in the year, making it to the finals of the Big ten tournament, and then dismantling Yale in the first round of the NCAA tournament. They take on a Longhorns team in this one that wants to slow things down, but I think they’re perfectly comfortable playing that style of ball as well. With Jaden Ivey being one of the best players in the country, I like him to be a difference maker, as Purdue slides by in a somewhat low scoring contest.
Noah’s College Basketball Pick: Purdue (-166)
If you need more news, information and predictions, head over to our College Basketball hub page for all your college basketball needs!
*Odds and spreads correct at time of publication, courtesy of FanDuel.