2022 March Madness predictions: College basketball expert picks against the spread, odds for Round 2 games

March Madness and the marathon of the 2022 NCAA Tournament rolls on into Sunday with 16 teams in action and only eight spots left in this year’s Sweet 16. With the bracket slowly taking shape after a frenetic Saturday where eight teams secured spots in the second weekend, Sunday marks the final day of this season’s opening weekend with a loaded slate set to get underway just after noon on the East Coast.

Every game has a single-digit betting spread, which suggests the entire slate should be filled with close games. That includes Arizona — the only No. 1 seed in action Sunday — though it is favored by 9.5 over No. 9 seed TCU for the largest spread of the day.

Other contests are expected on paper to be much closer. The headliner of the day between No. 2 seed Duke and No. 7 seed Michigan State features a Hall of Fame coaching battle with Mike Krzyzewski and Tom Izzo meeting. There’s a closer-than-expected spread that’s been provided by oddsmakers. The ACC regular-season champion Blue Devils are favored by 6.5 points over the Spartans despite Coach K’s 12-3 all-time record vs. Izzo has more a definitive advantage in talent.

To get you prepped for the final day of Round 2, I’ve called on our experts together to make picks straight up and against the spread to help you pick your bracket (and hopefully make some cheddar along the way). You can also check our expert brackets.

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 final slate of second-round games on Sunday.

Odds via Caesars Sportsbook | All times Eastern

NCAA Tournament: Round 2 picks

(4) Illinois vs. (5) Houston

Sunday, 12:10 pm | CBS, March Madness Live: Illinois had to dig its way out of a double-digit deficit vs. Chattanooga in Round 1 and escaped despite losing for all but 25 seconds of the game. It’s a stark contrast to Houston and its ho-hum 14-point cruise past UAB. But the Illini could not have played much worse on offense and Houston, with all its injuries, is due for some regression to the mean against a very talented Brad Underwood-coached team. This feels like a situation where the wrong team is favored, so I’ll take the points with Illinois. Pick: Illinois +4.5

Spread

ILL +4.5

ILL +4.5 ILL +4.5 ILL +4.5 HOU -4.5 ILL +4.5

straight up

ILL

ILL ILL ILL ILL ILL

(2) Villanova vs. (7) Ohio State

Sunday, 2:40 pm | CBS, March Madness Live: What Ohio State did defensively to a veteran-laden Loyola-Chicago team in the first round must not be ignored. The Buckeyes have the goods to be a force on that end of the floor when healthy, and they’re finally getting there. Paired with a top-15 offense led by a rising freshman in Malaki Branham and star EJ Liddell, I like them to cover the number against an explosive Villanova offense that surprisingly looked out of sorts in Round 1 against Delaware. Pick: Ohio State +5.5

Spread

USO +5.5

USO +5.5 NOVA-5.5 USO +5.5 USO +5.5 NOVA-5.5

straight up

NOVA

USO NOVA NOVA NOVA NOVA

(2) Duke vs. (7) Michigan State

Sunday, 5:15 pm | CBS, March Madness Live: Duke’s defense down the stretch of the season left something to be desired and played a key role in losing two of its first five games to open up the month of March. Still, this Blue Devils team has gobs of talent, and with five potential first-rounders, I’m laying the points and trusting Coach K’s dominance over Izzo in the all-time head-to-head series prevails with some comfort. Sparty may keep this close, but not sure they have the horses to go the distance and keep it within the number. Pick: Duke-6.5

Spread

MSU +6.5

DUKE-6.5 DUKE-6.5 DUKE-6.5 MSU +6.5 MSU +6.5

straight up

DUKE

DUKE DUKE DUKE DUKE MSU

(3) Wisconsin vs. (11) Iowa State

Sunday, 6:10 pm | TNT, March Madness Live: Questions about the health of Badgers star Johnny Davis were not immediately answered in Round 1 as Wisconsin struggled against No. 14 seed Colgate while he opened the game 3 of 11 shooting. But Davis looked back to his old ways in the second half, finishing with 25 points in the win and knocking down big shots down the stretch. The advantage he gives Wisconsin along with Iowa State’s inconsistent offensive output makes me lean Badgers in this spot. Pick: Wisconsin-3

Spread

WISC-3

WISC-3 WISC-3 WISC-3 WISC-3 UIS +3

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WISC

WISC WISC WISC WISC UIS

(3) Texas Tech vs. (11) Our Lady

Sunday, 7:10 p.m. | TBS, March Madness Live: Texas Tech’s No. 1-ranked defensive unit wasn’t the most impressive part of its Round 1 win over Montana State. That distinction belonged to its offence. The Red Raiders hung 97 points in the win and had six players — led by 20 from Terrence Shannon Jr. and 20 from Bryson Williams — finish with at least 10 points while the team made 12 of its 20 3-point attempts. I don’t expect them to keep shooting that hot, but I do expect Tech’s defense and surging offense can cover against an ND team that’s played a lot of basketball during the opening weekend. Pick: Texas Tech-7.5

Spread

TTU-7.5

ND +7.5 TTU-7.5 TTU-7.5 TTU-7.5 ND +7.5

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UTU

UTU UTU UTU UTU UTU

(2) Auburn vs. (10) Miami (Fla.)

Sunday, 7:45 p.m. | truTV, March Madness Live: Auburn lost four of its final nine games leading into the NCAA Tournament but looked back to its old ways in the first round as it throttled Jacksonville State 80-61 and dominated on defense led by Walker Kessler’s nine-block performance. This looks like the Tigers team that at one point was No. 1 in all of college hoops. I’m laying the number with them here against a Miami team that’s plenty feisty but isn’t quite tailored to take down the Tigers. Pick: Auburn-7.5

Spread

MIA +7.5

MIA +7.5 AUB-7.5 AUB-7.5 MIA +7.5 MIA +7.5

straight up

AUB

AUB AUB AUB AUB AUB

(3) Purdue vs. (6)Texas

Sunday, 8:40 p.m. | TNT, March Madness Live: Texas’ best this season has been really impressive and reminiscent of some of Chris Beard’s best Texas Tech teams. It just hasn’t been a consistently good team all year. Purdue has the personnel to make the Longhorns pay the price if they don’t bring their A-game, and with the duo of Jaden Ivey and Zach Edey coming off big games, I like the Boilermakers. Pick: Purdue-3.5

Spread

PURE -3.5

PURE -3.5

TEX +3.5

PURE -3.5

TEX +3.5

PURE -3.5

straight up

PURE

PURE

TEX

PURE

TEX

PURE

(1) Arizona vs. (9) TCUs

Sunday, 9:40 p.m. | TBS, March Madness Live: TCU smacked around a lifeless Seton Hall team in the first round, handing the Pirates their third-worst NCAA Tournament loss in program history. This Horned Frogs team can hang inside and out with just about anyone, and I expect they’ll do that against a really dangerous Arizona team that plays with pace and can control the court on both ends. This feels very much like a comfortable Wildcats win with a late TCU cover in play. Pick: TCU +9.5

Spread

UCT +9.5

UCT +9.5

ARIZ-9.5

UCT +9.5

ARIZ-9.5

UCT +9.5

straight up

ARIZ

ARIZ

ARIZ

ARIZ

ARIZ

ARIZ

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