Round of 32 March Madness Picks For Saturday, March 17th

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There are just 32 teams left in the field of 68, and the 32 duke it out in the second full round of the NCAA Tournament. Check out our second round March Madness picks for Saturday!

NCAA Tournament Matchup: #8 Kansas State Wildcats vs. #1 Syracuse Orange
Date: Saturday, March 17th, 12:15 ET
Location: Consol Energy Arena, Pittsburgh, PA
March Madness Odds: Syracuse -5
NCAA Tournament TV Schedule: CBS

This is going to be one of the most popular games in the entire tourney, as a good chunk of the world thinks that the Orange are just going to come out and get dumped by Kansas State. We know how bad Syracuse looked against UNC Asheville, but hindsight 20/20, what we saw for really the entire first round, especially on Friday were a bunch of teams that just didn’t look good against the little guys. Now, a K-State team that has had a history of upsets, but also has a history of getting frustrated by great defensive teams is going to have to go against this Syracuse side. Even though Fab Melo isn’t in the fold, we still think that the ‘Cuse have the defense to get through this one even if the offense isn’t at its best. The Wildcats had a great year, but on Saturday, we think that they are going to run into a team that is out to make a statement.

NCAA Tournament Free Pick: Syracuse-5

NCAA Tournament Matchup: #7 Gonzaga Bulldogs vs. #2 Ohio State Buckeyes
Date: Saturday, March 17th, 2:45 ET
Location: Consol Energy Arena, Pittsburgh, PA
March Madness Odds: Ohio State -7.5
NCAA Tournament TV Schedule: CBS

The second game of the day from Pittsburgh might be a slightly different story, though. Ohio State is playing great ball right now, and it really did its job against a Loyola Maryland team that could have been very stingy this year in the first full round of the dance. Gonzaga has proven that it doesn’t matter where it is playing; after all, it played a de facto road game against West Virginia on Thursday and blew the Mountaineers out of the building. Though we don’t think that the Zags are going to get through this one, we do think that this is going to be a game every single step of the way, and if that turns out to be the case, we most certainly want the points on our side. Jared Sullinger and the rest of the OSU bigs are going to be matched up relatively well against Robert Sacre and Elias Harris. The question is whether Kevin Pangos and the guards can get the job done. The Buckeyes are most certainly on upset alert.

NCAA Tournament Free Pick: Gonzaga +7.5

NCAA Tournament Matchup: #6 Murray State Racers vs. #3 Marquette Golden Eagles
Date: Saturday, March 17th, 5:15 ET
Location: KFC Yum! Arena, Louisville, KY
March Madness Odds: Marquette -5.5
NCAA Tournament TV Schedule: CBS

The oddsmakers need to learn that this Murray State team might be legit. The Racers played some fantastic defense in the first full round of the dance, and they were able to take care of a Colorado State team that had the ability to be really dangerous. With good three point shooting, great defense, and a chip on their shoulders, the Racers can beat anyone in the nation, and they are going to prove on Saturday that they were a legitimate team all year long and not just a team that won a lot of games by playing a bad schedule. It has been a bad, bad tourney for the Big East, and it is only going to get worse when push comes to shove when an Ohio Valley team takes out one of the few teams left standing out of the nine that originally made the dance from this conference.

NCAA Tournament Free Pick: Murray State +5.5

NCAA Tournament Matchup: #5 Vanderbilt Commodores vs. #4 Wisconsin Badgers
Date: Saturday, March 17th, 6:10 ET
Location: The Pit Arena, Albuquerque, NM
March Madness Odds: Vanderbilt -1
NCAA Tournament TV Schedule: TNT

The night in the desert kicks off at 6:10 for a game that we think is going to be quite easy to figure out. This Vandy team has seen it all over the course of the last week or so. The team has had some games that it hasn’t had to work all that hard in, and it has had the games against the likes of Kentucky in which it had to work extremely hard just to pull off the upset. In the end, teams that win their conference tournaments like that often have games somewhere along the way where they just get very tired in the dance, and often, that is the game that they get knocked out. This Wisconsin team is a lot different than a Harvard team that was playing in the dance for the first time in three generations totaling over six decades. The Badgers are tough, they are mentally strong, and their defense is going to frustrate the heck out of John Jenkins. Sure, if Jenkins can stay on his game and not force up a ton of terrible shots, the Commodores are going to have a shot. However, this is just a bad, bad time for the ‘Dores to get a wakeup call, and in the end, Wisconsin is going to march on, and we tend to think march on in a big, big way to the Sweet 16.

NCAA Tournament Free Pick: Wisconsin +1

NCAA Tournament Matchup: #12 VCU Rams vs. #4 Indiana Hoosiers
Date: Saturday, March 17th, 7:10 ET
Location: Rose Garden, Portland, OR
March Madness Odds: Indiana -6
NCAA Tournament TV Schedule: TBS

Head Coach Shaka Smart knows how to win games in the dance, and if you didn’t believe it last year, you had better believe it this year. The problem that the Rams are going to have in this one is that they are going to be up against a team that is just as young and just as hungry as they are, and that is a big difference from what we have seen in the past with this team against teams like Georgetown, Florida State, and now most recently Wichita State, teams that really figured that they were the better team and were going to get rid of these little engines that could. Cody Zeller is the real deal, and we love the fact that IU was able to win in the first round against a solid New Mexico State team in spite of the fact that he and Christian Watford weren’t at their best. Will the Hoosiers win this one? We really think so, if for no other reason because we really believe in Head Coach Tom Crean. Is this a lot of points against a team that plays tremendous defense and forces a lot of timely mistakes? Absolutely. We’ll take the Rams, though we do still think that Indiana figures out how to narrow dismiss the CAA champs and the consummate Cinderella story of the dance.

NCAA Tournament Free Pick: VCU +6

NCAA Tournament Matchup: #8 Iowa State Cyclones vs. #1 Kentucky Wildcats
Date: Saturday, March 17th, 7:45 ET
Location: KFC Yum! Arena, Louisville, KY
March Madness Odds: Kentucky -11
NCAA Tournament TV Schedule: CBS

The Big Blue nation is going to be out in force once again on Saturday, knowing that the Wildcats are going to be playing against an Iowa State team that theoretically should be overmatched. The SEC runners up are still the most talented team in the nation for sure, but that doesn’t mean that they are in a position to cover double digits against every team in the land. Remember that ISU has beaten some great teams this year out of the Big XII, and it is not going to be intimidated playing a de facto road game against a team that is this good. Sure, this wouldn’t be like Lehigh upsetting Duke, but it isn’t all that far off in the whole magnitude of the dance. Will the Cyclones get the job done? We don’t really think so. However, Royce Pollard and the crew will really open some eyes by sticking around with the Cats shot for shot for the full 60 minutes. Perhaps in a different venue, we could see the upset, but we are definitely thinking that this is a great spot to take a hefty, hefty point spread.

NCAA Tournament Free Pick: Iowa State +11

NCAA Tournament Matchup: #11 Colorado Buffaloes vs. #3 Baylor Bears
Date: Saturday, March 17th, 8:40 ET
Location: The Pit Arena, Albuquerque, NM
March Madness Odds: Baylor -7.5
NCAA Tournament TV Schedule: TNT

There is a point that we have to realize that matters are just set up tremendously perfectly for these Bears. If madness were truly to ensure, we would be seeing Baylor get upset in this one, knowing that then, there would nothing but double digit seeds left for the Sweet 16 for the right to play a Kentucky team that still has to be grinning from ear to ear with the way that things have played out here in the South. However, we think that this is the reward for the Bears for being one of the last undefeated teams in the land this year, and they are going to be able to pummel a Colorado team that is out of a Pac-12 conference that has been miserable for the mass majority of the postseason regardless of what tourney you’re talking about. Remember that these two teams know all about each other as former conference foes, and we just don’t think that the Buffs have the ability to go up against a great team like this one and get the job done. In the end, Perry Jones III and the stacked Bears are going to romp into the Sweet 16, where they will be huge favorites to get into the Elite 8.

NCAA Tournament Free Pick: Baylor -7.5

NCAA Tournament Matchup: #5 New Mexico Lobos vs. #4 Louisville Cardinals
Date: Saturday, March 17th, 9:40 ET
Location: Rose Garden, Portland, OR
March Madness Odds: Louisville -1.5
NCAA Tournament TV Schedule: TBS

The Big East remains the conference that we are going to go after, and it is amazing to think, but perhaps none of the nine could be around at the end of this weekend… Louisville is a team that got some steam by taking down a Davidson outfit that we think was massively overrated just based upon its name and the fact that it was on the verge of the Final Four just a few years ago. Now, there is a lot different challenge going against a New Mexico team that is clearly one of the best in the country amongst the non-power conferences. The Lobos have the team with the athleticism to frustrate this defense, and in the end, they are playing a bit of a home game a heck of a lot closer to home than Louisville is. The Cardinals are going to be the last Big East team of the day to get themselves into a lot of trouble, and though they did avoid the first round upset this year, they aren’t going to get into the second weekend of the dance. The Lobos are just too strong and could be continuing what amounts to be another very strong run, very deep into this tournament.

NCAA Tournament Free Pick: New Mexico +1.5

Lou Palumbo is the founder and part owner of the Sports Handicapping Community. He's been writing and posting free picks and sports handicapping strategies on the Cappersinfo forums and website for 15 years now. He enjoys handicapping just as much as he did from the very first day he built the original Cappersinfo website.