Loyola Chicago (30-5) vs Nevada (29-7)
When: Thursday, March 22nd 2018
Where: Philips Arena, Atlanta, GA
Time: 7:07 ET | TV: CBS
Opening Odds: Nevada -1.5/140
It’s offense versus defense in this unlikely Sweet 16 matchup between the 11th-seeded Loyola Chicago Ramblers and seventh-seeded Nevada Wolfpack from Atlanta, Georgia on Thursday night. The teams are just two of the many that have recorded upsets in this crazy March Madness tournament and the winner will be one victory away from the Final Four. Nevada, out of the Mountain West Conference, needed to large comebacks in the first weekend to survive, overcoming a 14-point, second-half deficit in an 87-83 overtime win over Texas before rallying from a 22-point hole with 11 minutes to go to knock off No. 2 seed Cincinnati in the second-largest comeback in NCAA Tournament history. The Wolfpack have matched the school record for wins and are in the Sweet 16 for just the second time ever. Loyola nearly blew a late lead against No. 3 seed Tennessee on Saturday before Clayton Custer’s jumper bounced around the rim and in for a 63-62 victory. The Ramblers haven’t lost in nearly two months, winning 12 straight games since suffering a 69-67 setback at Bradley on January 31st.
The Ramblers are led by their terrific defense, ranking fifth in the nation in scoring defense (62.2 points) while committing the second-fewest fouls per game. On offense, they have five players averaging double digits in points led by Custer (13.3 points, 4.2 assists), but Aundre Jackson (11.1 points) averaged a team-high 14 points in the first two games of the Tournament. The Ramblers are 21-0 when leading at halftime and 28-1 when scoring at least 60 points.
The Wolfpack are just the opposite, pushing the pace each game (83.0 points), but also taking care of the ball, as they are fourth in the country in turnovers per game (9.6). Caleb Martin (18.8 points, 5.4 rebounds), Jordan Caroline (17.7, 8.7) and Cody Martin (13.9, 6.3, 4.7 assists) are the top scorers, but reserve guard Josh Hall (6.8 points) came up big last weekend as he averaged 14.5 points and six rebounds. Kendall Stephens (13.4 points) is the sharp-shooter, hitting 44.4 percent of his 3-point attempts.
This should be a terrific matchup, but I feel the pace of play by Nevada will be a little too much for Loyola in the second half. I don’t see the Wolfpack falling behind like they did in the previous two games.
Pick: Nevada -1.5
- Ramblers are 4-0 ATS in their last 4 neutral site games.
- Ramblers are 4-1 ATS in their last 5 non-conference games.
- Ramblers are 19-7-1 ATS in their last 27 games vs. a team with a winning % above .600.
- Ramblers are 21-8-1 ATS in their last 30 games overall.
- Ramblers are 45-19 ATS in their last 64 games following a ATS win.
- Ramblers are 35-16 ATS in their last 51 games following a straight up win.
- Ramblers are 34-16-1 ATS in their last 51 games vs. a team with a winning straight up record.
- Wolf Pack are 11-4 ATS in their last 15 non-conference games.
- Wolf Pack are 18-7-1 ATS in their last 26 games following a ATS win.
- Wolf Pack are 34-14-4 ATS in their last 52 games vs. a team with a winning straight up record.
- Wolf Pack are 26-12-4 ATS in their last 42 games vs. a team with a winning % above .600.
- Wolf Pack are 5-11-2 ATS in their last 18 games following a straight up win.
- Under is 7-0 in Ramblers last 7 overall.
- Under is 4-0 in Ramblers last 4 games vs. a team with a winning % above .600.
- Under is 4-0 in Ramblers last 4 non-conference games.
- Under is 7-0 in Ramblers last 7 games following a straight up win.
- Under is 5-0 in Ramblers last 5 games following a ATS win.
- Under is 6-0 in Ramblers last 6 neutral site games.
- Over is 4-0-1 in Wolf Pack last 5 games following a straight up win.
- Over is 5-0 in Wolf Pack last 5 vs. Missouri Valley.
- Over is 5-1-1 in Wolf Pack last 7 overall.
- Over is 5-1 in Wolf Pack last 6 NCAA Tournament games.
- Over is 9-2 in Wolf Pack last 11 neutral site games.
- Over is 16-5 in Wolf Pack last 21 non-conference games.
- Over is 3-1-1 in Wolf Pack last 5 games vs. a team with a winning % above .600.
- Under is 6-2-1 in Wolf Pack last 9 games following a ATS win.