NCAA Tournament Bracket Breakdown: Round of 32 (Sunday Games)

(1) Illinois vs (8) Loyal IL 

Line: Illinois –7 

O/U: 133.5 

Time: Sunday 12:10 PM 

Loyola Chicago is back and looking to make another run of upsets. They have the first game this Sunday coming off an 11-point win over Georgia Tech. The 3-ball was falling as they went 11-27 from behind the arc. Lucas Williamson stepped up in a big way with a 21-point performance. Cameron Krutwig had a quiet but effective game and will need to have a big game to pull off the upset. The Ramblers will need to maintain a high level of defensive intensity and knock down shots from deep against this Illinois squad. 

Illinois is entering this game after handing Drexel a 29-point loss in the first round. They looked just as dominant as they have over the last month. Ayo Dosunmu is a triple-double threat every time he is on the floor and Kofi Cockburn is a man amongst boys.  Their supporting cast of quick, scrappy guards will give the Ramblers serious problems. Look for Illinois to work from inside out in this match-up and kick out for open 3’s off of Ayo drives or entry passes to Cockburn. 

(1) Baylor vs (9) Wisconsin 

Line: Baylor –6 

O/U: 138.5 

Time: Sunday 2:40 

Wisconsin is coming off their best game of the season. They were excellent in every aspect of the game during their 23-point thrashing of UNC. Brad Davison and D’mitrik Trice combined for 50 points and Reuvers was blocking everything inside. They only turned the ball over 7 times and looked unstoppable. If they can keep that same energy against Baylor this will be an extremely hard-fought battle. 

Baylor is still looking to get back into mid-season form. They handled Hartford with ease but are still not as solid on defense as they want to be. Their trio of Butler, Mitchell, and Teague is one of the best in the country and they shoot the 3 as well as anyone in the country. Jared Butler is looking to put his struggles behind him and this Wisconsin team is a great test for the Bears. Look for them to enter the game with a locked-in the defensive unit looking to turn the Badgers over and run out on fast breaks. 

(3) West Virginia vs (11) Syracuse

Line: WVU –3.5 

O/U: 147.5 

Time: Sunday 5:15 

Syracuse is in the round of 32 as a double-digit seed. This is becoming normality for the Orange as they just always know how to turn it on in March. They beat San Diego State by 16 on Friday and held them to 11-40 from 3. the 30-point outburst from coach’s son Buddy Boeheim was huge along with a team effort of 15-27 from 3. They are very reliant on the outside shot but if they can limit WVU and continue their hot shooting they will be back in the Sweet 16. 

West Virginia took care of business against Morehead State thanks to Miles McBride also posting a 30-point game. Bob Huggins will have his offensive juggernaut ready to go with a game plan for the 2-3 zone he has seen so many times. WVU features a great 3-point shooting lineup but looks for them to try and work the ball inside more. Huggins will try to beat the zone through dribble penetration and then shoot 3’s off of kick-outs.  

(3) Arkansas vs (6) Texas Tech 

Line: TTU -1 

O/U: 140.5 

Time: Sunday 6:10 

Texas played a tough game against Utah State and ended up with a 12-point win. It was an even scoring effort with four starters in double digits and shooting 7-17 from deep. This team thrives off of their defense and did so on Friday as they forced 22 turnovers. They will be looking to get their hands on loose balls and get into their transition offense in order to counter Arkansas’s offense. 

Arkansas looked very suspect for the first 15 minutes of their match-up with Colgate but closed it out after that. They took over the game and showed what a dominant force they can be when they play team basketball. Senior Justin Smith posted 29 points and 13 rebounds and four other Razorbacks joined him in double figures. These two teams match up very well as tough, defensive-minded teams with a ton of athletic players who love to get in passing lanes. This game should be the most hard-fought one of the day. 

(2) Houston vs (10) Rutgers 

Line: HOU –8.5 

O/U: 132 

Time: Sunday 7:10 

After defeating Clemson in the round of 64, Rutgers comes into Sunday’s game as heavy underdogs to Houston. It is Rutgers’ first time in the second round of the tournament and in order to win they will have to rely on the defensive side of the ball. Houston’s defense has allowed 57.8 points per game, ranking them second among D 1 teams. The Rutgers offense is not as impressive, averaging 69.6 points per game, enough to rank them 204 in the nation. Led by Ron Harper Jr., the Scarlet Knights will need every one of his 15.2 and 5.9 points and rebounds per game to pull off the upset.

 Houston’s Quentin Grimes averages 18 points, 5.9 rebounds, and 2 assists per game, but will likely play without fifth-year senior DeJon Jarreau. Jarreau averaged 11 points but let his presence known mostly on the defensive side of the ball, named the AAC defensive player of the year.  

(7) Florida vs (15) Oral Roberts 

Line: FLA -8 

O/U: 149 

Time: Sunday 7:45 

Continuing the upset train is Oral Roberts University, who will play against Florida after their overtime win against Ohio State, their first NCAA victoryNo advantage of fresh legs for the gators though, as their own win against Virginia Tech found an ending in overtime too. Leading the charge for Oral Roberts is sophomore Max Abmas. Abmas leads the nation in scoring with 24.4 points per game and had 29 against Ohio State. Abmas looks to be elite, shooting 48.1 percent from the field and 43.6 percent from beyond the arc. If he has a weakness, it is his low 66.7 percent free-throw shooting.

 Florida’s offense is spearheaded by Tre Mann and will likely see the return of starting point guard Tyree Appleby who left the game against Virginia Tech with a facial laceration. Appleby is the floor general of the Florida Gators, offering 11.2 points and 3.4 assists per game. 

(5) Villanova vs (13) North Texas 

Line: VILL –6.5 

O/U: 126.5 

Time: Sunday 8:45 

Villanova and North Texas play on Sunday after North Texas’ upset win over the Purdue boilermakers. North Texas is riding high after its first-ever NCAA win. Led by senior Javion Hamlet, averaging just under 15 points a game, the Mean Green excel from beyond the perimeter, averaging 37.5 percent from distance. North Texas is just as dangerous when playing slow, however. They score 1.18 points per possession with one of the slowest tempos in the country.

Villanova is no stranger to slow games, also averaging a tempo above 300. This game has the potential to be boring. However, the seniors on the wildcats are dangerous, Jermaine Samuels, and Caleb Daniels have combined to score 45 percent of Villanova’s points this season. The team’s experience and pace of the game, along with a measly 13.5 percent chance of turning the ball over leaves little opportunity for a North Texas victory.  

(4) Oklahoma St vs (12) Oregon State 

Line: OKST -6 

O/U: 142 

Time: Sunday 9:40 


After the Oklahoma State Cowboys defeated the number 13 seed Liberty, they find themselves confronted with the number 12 seed Oregon State, who pulled off the first upset of the tournament after dispatching Tennessee. Oregon State has made something of a name for itself as an underdog, they captured their bid to attend March Madness after winning the Pac-12 tournament despite being picked to finish last in the preseason. Senior Roman Silva led the team with a perfect outing from the field and the team’s hot streak continues.

Oklahoma St will look to find some form after their Big 12 Player and Freshman of the year, Cade Cunningham, was ice cold on 3-14 finishing from the field. The Cowboys’ young roster doesn’t have to shoot the best if they continue their defensive excellence. They held Liberty to 38.1 percent shooting for the game and forced 18 turnovers, nine of them steals.