2023 March Madness predictions: NCAA bracket expert picks against the spread, odds in Saturday’s Round 2 games

NCAA Basketball

Products You May Like

jaime-jaquez-ucla-white-usatsi.png
USATSI

March Madness is officially in full swing and after two frenzied days of the first round of the 2023 NCAA Tournament, we’re already down to 32 teams left standing and now primed to chop the remaining contenders in half over the next two days. Second round action begins Saturday where we will have eight games scattered about through the day with eight teams ultimately punching tickets to the Sweet 16 as another eight teams’ seasons come to an end.

Saturday’s action is the first of a two-day bonanza of second-round play that will put an official bow on the first full weekend of this year’s NCAA Tournament, and the docket on deck figures to be just as delectable as the first few days of action. We have No. 1 seed Kansas as the shortest favorite in more than two decades in a Round 2 game, No. 1 seed Houston in a quasi-road environment facing No. 9 seed Auburn in Birmingham and plenty of other appetizing matchups that could deliver big results. Buckle up.

Of course, getting some extra skin in the games may help put you in the tournament spirit (if you aren’t already there). Below, our CBS Sports experts have provided their insight with picks straight up and against the spread for some of the top games on Saturday’s extended slate. Our expert brackets may offer some help on this front as well.

While surviving and advancing is clearly what matters for most, we care about whether these teams will cover their spreads, and we’ve tracked the season since November to be able to offer our own thoughts on every game.

LIVE updatesFollow along with live scores and highlights in the second round of the NCAA Tournament on Saturday.   

Be sure to stick with CBS Sports throughout the rest of the month for NCAA Tournament coverage through the end of the Final Four. Let’s take a look at our expert picks for the opening day of the second round on Saturday.

Odds via Caesars Sportsbook | All times Eastern

Featured NCAA Tournament picks

(1) Houston vs. (9) Auburn

Saturday, 7:10 p.m. | TBS, March Madness Live: In addition to a lingering groin injury for Houston leading scorer Marcus Sasser, who left the team’s first-round game after aggravating the ailment he picked up in the AAC Tournament, the Cougars are also dealing with Jamal Shead’s knee injury. Both are expected to give it a go, Houston coach Kelvin Sampson said Friday, but at what level they’ll be effective is unclear. The injury concerns combined with this game being in Birmingham makes me lean taking the 5.5 points with Auburn, which will effectively be playing a home game. Pick: Auburn +5.5

Parrish Norlander Palm Boone Cobb Patterson

Spread

AUB +5.5

HOU -5.5

AUB +5.5

AUB +5.5

AUB +5.5

AUB +5.5

Straight up

HOU

HOU

HOU

HOU

HOU

AUB

(2) UCLA vs. (7) Northwestern

Saturday, 8:40 p.m. | TNT, March Madness Live: UCLA dominated in its first-round game vs. UNC-Asheville and didn’t seem to be slowed by the absence of top defender Jaylen Clark, who is out for the season. However, this spot is where I think the shorthanded Bruins’ luck runs out. Northwestern is an experienced team with two stars in Boo Buie and Chase Audige, who will give UCLA all it can handle. This is going to be one to watch where I think Northwestern has a real shot at pulling off the upset. Pick: Northwestern +7.5

Parrish Norlander Palm Boone Cobb Patterson

Spread

UCLA -7.5

UCLA -7.5

NW +7.5

NW +7.5

UCLA -7.5

NW +7.5

Straight up

UCLA

UCLA

UCLA

NW

NW

UCLA


(4) Tennessee vs. (5) Duke

Saturday, 2:40 p.m. | CBS, March Madness Live: Duke blasted plucky No. 12 seed Oral Roberts in Round 1 to extend its winning streak to 10 games, flashing what appears to be title-worthy mettle in a wide-open East Region. So Duke -3 might be tempting. However, Tennessee, for all its struggles on offense — of which there are many — has a capable defense that could keep this within the number and down to a single possession at the end. Pick: Tennessee +3.5

Parrish Norlander Palm Boone Cobb Patterson

Spread

DUKE -3.5

DUKE -3.5

DUKE -3.5

TENN +3.5

DUKE -3.5

DUKE -3.5

Straight up

DUKE

DUKE

DUKE

DUKE

DUKE

DUKE

(1) Kansas vs. (8) Arkansas

Saturday, 5:15 p.m. | CBS, March Madness Live: This is the shortest favorite for a No. 1 seed in a Round 2 matchup since 1996, and the history of short favorites faring against the spread is not encouraging. Kansas is equipped to buck that trend, though, with its balanced defense and guard-heavy offensive attack a pretty good matchup with Arkansas. The length of the Razorbacks — from their guards and wings — could disrupt KU and make this one close, but I like KU to win, say, 73-66 or something around there. Pick: Kansas -3

Parrish Norlander Palm Boone Cobb Patterson

Spread

KU -3

KU -3

KU -3

KU -3

KU -3

KU -3

Straight up

KU

KU

KU

KU

KU

KU

Products You May Like

Articles You May Like

Ticats ink tight end Thaddeus Moss
Virat Kohli’s Social Media Post After India’s Series Win Over England Is Viral
NWSL’s new Nike kits laying foundation for commercial growth
Dana White: UFC Mexico crowd fight ‘craziest thing I’ve seen’
Jets @ Blackhawks 2/23 | NHL Highlights 2024