March Madness Second Round Upset Predictions: 2024 NCAA Tournament Second Round Underdog Picks  

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Ricky Dimon


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Since graduating from Davidson (The College That Stephen Curry Built), I have been writing about sports -- just about any and all you can think of! -- and coaching tennis in Atlanta, GA. Beyond the four major sports, I am an avid tennis fan and cover the ATP Tour on a daily basis. If I'm not busy writing, you can generally find me on a tennis court or traveling the world wherever a sporting event takes me. For Ricky Dimon media enquiries, please email
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And just like that, we are halfway through the NCAA Tournament – or more than halfway, in fact, if you count the 4 play-in games.

The first round delivered plenty of madness. What will Saturday and Sunday do for an encore? Saturday’s 8-game slate will determine half of the Sweet 16 field, and it should be entertaining from noon until night. Arizona, North Carolina, Iowa State, Tennessee, Illinois and Creighton are the teams hoping to avoid the upset bug.

Here are my underdog picks, and also be sure to check out our experts’ college basketball picks for EVERY game in the NCAA Tournament. 

2024 NCAA Tournament First Round Day 3 Upset Picks 

Texas +6.5 over Tennessee (-110) 

Odds available at FanDuel Sportsbook at the time of publishing. 


How bad has the SEC been in this tournament? Kentucky was seeded #3 and lost to #14 Oakland; Aurburn, the conference champion, was a #4 seed and got bounced by #13 Yale. South Carolina was 1 of 3 #6 seeds to get knocked off in the first round, falling to #11 Oregon. Five of the conference’s 8 teams are already eliminated.  

It is true that a team should not be guilty by association. Fellow SEC representatives taking losses does not automatically mean that Tennessee is terrible. At the same, time, however, it does not bode well. 

The Volunteers should be able to advance again this weekend, but I’m not going to give 6.5 points to the Longhorns. Texas has shown an ability to frustrate opponents with its tenacious defense, holding Colorado State to just 44 points in the opening round. Head coach Rodney Terry’s squad ranks 39th in defensive efficiency and has the size to match up with UT’s frontcourt. The ‘Horns may not have quite as much talent as the Vols, but they have multiple scoring threats such as Max Abmas and Dylan Disu who can get hot and keep them within striking distance.


Oregon ML over vs Creighton (+185) 

Odds available at BetMGM Sportsbook at the time of publishing. 

I have Oregon in the Sweet 16 and I’m not about to get off the bandwagon following the first round. The Ducks have been among the hottest teams in the nation of late. Conference tournament success by no means guarantees the same in the Big Dance (just ask Auburn!), but – if you are good enough – it should give you a lot of momentum that can be parlayed into NCAA Tournament victories. Oregon, the Pac-12 Tournament champion, already has 1 more win under its belt after hammering South Carolina 87-73 on Thursday.

Creighton is led by the 3-headed monster of Baylor Scheierman, Ryan Kalkbrenner and Trey Alexander. That trio is formidable, but the Bluejays are not deep at all. They basically go 6 deep. That is rarely a recipe for an NCAA Tournament run, nor does it inspire confidence for a second game in 3 days. Give me Oregon on the money line.


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