The second round of the NCAA Women’s Basketball Tournament is in full swing, and there has already been plenty of drama. On Sunday, we saw South Carolina and LSU take care of business in their second-round games. However, we also saw a major Round 2 upset when Duke beat a No. 2 seed in Ohio State, 75-63. Another No. 2 seed, Stanford, had to go into overtime without star Cameron Brink before escaping with an 87-81 win over Iowa State, thanks to a career-high 41 points from Kiki Iriafen.

We have eight more games left before the Sweet  16, so let’s break down Day 2 of the women's second-round games as we look to determine which teams will advance.

Best College Basketball Parlays Today – March 25: 4-Leg Parlay Picks (+740)

Leg 1 Parlay Pick: Syracuse vs. Connecticut over 144.5 (-110)

Leg 2 Parlay Pick: West Virginia -15.5 vs. Iowa (-110)

Leg 3 Parlay Pick: UCLA to beat Creighton (-550)

Leg 4 Parlay Pick: USC -10.5 vs. Kansas (-105)

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Best March Madness Second-Round Bets Today

Syracuse vs. Connecticut Prediction and Pick

The Syracuse Orange kept their NCAA Tournament hopes alive on Saturday when they survived a tough Arizona team in a 74-69 win. It was an easier Saturday for Connecticut, as the Huskies handled Jackson State 86-64 in a game that was never close. Monday’s matchup between the Orange and Huskies revives a longtime rivalry dating back to when these schools were both in the Big East Conference.

These two teams also met in the second round of the 2021 NCAA Tournament in a game UConn won 83-47. Then-freshman sensations Paige Bueckers and Aaliyah Edwards were starting to make names for themselves at the time, and they were dominant in that victory –- combining for 39 of their team’s 83 points.

Although this year’s Huskies are an even better team than they were in 2021, Syracuse is also much better. The Orange are led by guard Dyaisha Fair, one of the top scorers in the country who has been a matchup nightmare for every opposing team this season.

In the first quarter against UConn, Jackson State scored only eight points. However, in the remaining three quarters, the Tigers were able to score 20, 22, and 14 points. Connecticut is an outstanding team that certainly has another deep tournament run in the cards, but the Huskies’ defense wasn’t there in Round 1, and this Syracuse team is significantly better than Jackson State. Give me the over on the total here, because Syracuse can score points -- and do it quickly.

The Pick: Over 144.5 (-110)

West Virginia vs. Iowa Prediction and Pick

The Iowa Hawkeyes, the No. 1 seed in the Albany Regional, took care of business in Round 1 by knocking off Holy Cross 91-65 on Saturday. Holy Cross was much more talented than their No. 16 seed would indicate, and early in the game, the Crusaders showed why by going toe-to-toe with Iowa throughout the first quarter. Only a terrible, nine-point second quarter doomed Holy Cross, because the final score would have been much closer if the Crusaders had kept their offense flowing at that point in the game.

In Round 2 on Monday, Iowa is set to face a West Virginia team that is battle-tested after a season of Big 12 Conference play. Iowa, a Big Ten team, is also familiar with Big 12 opponents, having played Kansas State twice and Iowa State once this season. The Hawkeyes went 2-1 in those games, but they will need to be especially sharp against a Mountaineers team that shot 52 percent from the field in its opening-round 63-53 win over Princeton.

In its four Big 12 games against Kansas State and Iowa State -- the two teams that Iowa faced -- West Virginia was certainly competitive. The Mountaineers went 1-3, but they kept the scores close and even upset the Cyclones 84-78 back in January.

Iowa’s offense -- led by Caitlin Clark, Hannah Stuelke, and Kate Martin -- is lethal. The Hawkeyes’ average of 92.8 points per game is the best in the nation -- almost seven points ahead of second-place South Carolina at 86.3.

While the over/under total will be a play for most people here, I like a wager on West Virginia to cover much better. It’s a small sample size, but Iowa’s points-per-game average against Big 12 teams was significantly less than its season average. Against Big 12 teams, the Hawkeyes averaged 69.6 points per game (compared to their 92.8 overall average), and they were 0-3 against the spread.

The Pick: West Virginia +15.5 (-110)

Creighton vs. UCLA Prediction and Pick

The Creighton Bluejays took care of business in their NCAA Tournament opener by beating UNLV 87-73 on Saturday, but I still can’t shake their March 10 loss to Georgetown in the Big East Tournament out of my head. It was an embarrassing defeat, which is one reason I thought UNLV would have been more competitive than it was against Creighton.

On Monday, the Bluejays will go up against a very dominant UCLA team that took down Big East champion UConn in a 78-67 win on Nov. 24. Creighton played those same Huskies twice this season and wasn’t competitive in either matchup -- losing 94-50 and 73-53.

UCLA has defeated a lot of top teams this year, including Connecticut, Ohio State, USC, Colorado, and Utah. Creighton played a great game in the opening round on Saturday, but the Bluejays’ run will end on Monday night because UCLA is simply a better team from top to bottom.

The Pick: UCLA ML (-550)
Kansas vs. USC Prediction and Pick

The Kansas Jayhawks got past a tough Michigan team in the NCAA Tournament’s first round on Saturday, beating the Wolverines 81-72. Meanwhile, USC flew past Texas A&M-Corpus Christi 87-55 in another Portland Regional matchup. The top-seeded Trojans never looked back in that game after rolling out to a 21-4 lead by the end of the first quarter.

What this USC team and its freshman sensation, JuJu Watkins, are doing this season is historic. The Trojans get overlooked by some lazy fans, who say that USC’s success is all about Watkins, but that is just not the case. She is having a season for the ages and certainly leading the way, but there is no doubt that USC has a complete team.

USC won the Pac-12 title in a game that saw Watkins score only nine points. Her fellow Trojans guard, McKenzie Forbes, who scored 26 points in that game, is a dual threat who has been lights-out from 3-point range. Forbes, like Watkins, can create her own shot. In addition, USC center Rayah Marshall is a matchup nightmare in the post who has been a double-double machine this season, and guard Kayla Padilla is a lethal 3-point shooter who is 44.1 percent from behind the arc this season.

This USC team is complete, and it is poised to make a run that will go through Kansas on Monday night. Give me the Trojans and the points here, because if they could beat Stanford by 13 in one of Watkins’ worst games of the season, then they will be able to handle the Jayhawks on Monday night.

The Pick: USC -10.5 (-105)

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