March Madness: Ranking second-round men's slate from most to least watchable games

Nick Bromberg
·4 min read

Welcome to second-round Sunday. The round of 32 kicks off just after noon ET with the best game of the day as No. 1 seed Illinois takes on No. 8 seed Loyola-Chicago in the Midwest region.

Loyola was one of the most underseeded teams in the tournament and pulled away in the second half to beat No. 9 Georgia Tech on Friday night. Illinois, meanwhile, easily dispatched No. 16 Drexel.

Here are our power rankings of the eight games scheduled for Sunday afternoon. Three games tip off before 6 p.m. and then five games are scheduled to begin after 6 p.m. All times listed below are ET and odds are provided by BetMGM.

No. 1 Illinois vs. No. 8 Loyola Chicago

12:10 p.m., CBS

Illinois -7, O/U 133.5

The Ramblers are one of the best defensive teams in the country and give up the fewest points per game in the country (55.7). Illinois has emerged as one of the most well-rounded teams in college basketball and Ayo Dosunmu has scored 16 or more points in his last seven games.

No. 1 Baylor vs. No. 9 Wisconsin

2:40 p.m., CBS

Baylor -6.5, O/U 136.5

The Badgers blitzed North Carolina in the first round to hand Roy Williams his first first-round loss. Brad Davison scored 29 and D’Mitrik Trice had 21. Baylor scores over 84 points per game. Wisconsin put up 85 against UNC. Do the Badgers need to score more than 80 again to pull the upset?

No. 3 Arkansas vs. No. 6 Texas Tech

6:10 p.m., TNT

Texas Tech -1, O/U 141

Arkansas got an early scare from Colgate before storming back late in the first half while Texas Tech pulled away from Utah State in the second half on Friday. And these two teams are polar opposites in terms of pace. Arkansas wants to push it and Texas Tech wants to play it slowly. Who can establish their preferred pace?

No. 3 West Virginia vs. No. 11 Syracuse

5:15 p.m., CBS

West Virginia -3.5, O/U 147.5

Can Syracuse shoot like it did against San Diego State? And can West Virginia beat the zone better than the Aztecs did? West Virginia’s offense has been very efficient this season while Syracuse is trying to make some double-digit seed magic again.

No. 7 Florida vs. No. 15 Oral Roberts

7:45 p.m., TruTV

Florida -8.5, O/U 148.5

Oral Roberts is the fifth No. 15 seed to advance in the tournament since 2012. This is the third time a No. 15 has played Florida. We’ll see if the Gators get back Omar Payne. He missed the game against Virginia Tech after elbowing Tennessee’s John Fulkerson in the SEC tournament.

No. 5 Villanova vs. No. 13 North Texas

8:45 p.m., TNT

Villanova -6.5, O/U 127.5

Villanova was a trendy pick to get upset in the first round but the Wildcats had relatively little trouble with Winthrop. North Texas won its first NCAA tournament game ever against Purdue. Can UNT go 2-for-2? The Mean Green’s strength is their guards and Villanova is missing Collin Gillespie.

No. 4 Oklahoma State vs. No. 12 Oregon State

9:40 p.m., TBS

Oklahoma State -6, O/U 141

Is this the game where Cade Cunningham shows a national audience why he’s a potential No. 1 pick? The Beavers efficiently took apart Tennessee in the first round thanks to some great 3-point shooting. Oklahoma State’s success this season has been largely in part because of its defense.

No. 2 Houston vs. No. 10 Rutgers

7:10 p.m., TBS

Houston -8.5, O/U 131.5

Rutgers is in the NCAA tournament for the first time since 1991 and the school got its first tournament win since 1983 on Friday night. But Houston appears to have the edge in every category. It’s not often you get the chance for a middling Big Ten team to pull an upset over an American Conference power.

INDIANAPOLIS, IN - MARCH 19: Ayo Dosunmu #11 of the Illinois Fighting Illini is introduced before the start of the first round of the 2021 NCAA Division I Mens Basketball Tournament held at Indiana Farmers Coliseum on March 19, 2021 in Indianapolis, Indiana. (Photo by Trevor Brown Jr/NCAA Photos via Getty Images)
INDIANAPOLIS, IN - MARCH 19: Ayo Dosunmu #11 of the Illinois Fighting Illini is introduced before the start of the first round of the 2021 NCAA Division I Mens Basketball Tournament held at Indiana Farmers Coliseum on March 19, 2021 in Indianapolis, Indiana. (Photo by Trevor Brown Jr/NCAA Photos via Getty Images)

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