The #7 Nevada Wolfpack will take on the #11 Loyola Chicago Ramblers in the Sweet 16 round of the NCAA Tournament Thursday night from the Philips Arena. The Wolfpack defeated Texas and Cincinnati in their two tournament games, and the Ramblers defeated Miami and Tennessee in their path to this contest.
Ramblers Stun #3 Tennessee in Second Straight Upset
The Loyola Chicago Ramblers recorded another upset with their 63-62 win against #3 Tennessee in the second round on Saturday. The Ramblers were able to shoot 50% against a strong Vols defense, and they held them to 45% shooting. Aundre Jackson was terrific for the second straight game, notching a team-high 16 points on a 5 for 7 shooting performance. The senior forward has scored a combined 28 points in his last two games, and he places third in team scoring with 11.1 points on an excellent 47% field goal efficiency. Ramblers’ leading scorer Clayton Custer converted on 4 of his 5 field goals for a game total of 10 points. The junior guard was sharp in the first round win against Miami as well, and he has drilled 6 of his 8 three-point attempts in this tourney. Custer is currently averaging 13.3 points on 52.7% shooting.
The Ramblers have been able to crack two terrific defensive teams in their two tournament wins. They shot 38% from beyond the arc against Miami and 40% from three-point range against Tennessee. Loyola Chicago has now won 12 consecutive games and they are placed at 36th in the nation in Ken Pomeroy’s college basketball rankings. The Ramblers are averaging 71.9 points, ranking them 230th overall. They are a tremendous defensive team, holding opponents to 62.2 points, good for fifth in the country.
Nevada Mounts Incredible Comeback vs. #2 Cincinnati
The Nevada Wolfpack pulled off the incredible comeback in their 75-73 win against #2 Cincinnati in the second round on Sunday. The Wolfpack trailed by 22 points with 11 minutes remaining, and they finished with a 49% field goal efficiency while holding the Bearcats to a 41% clip from the field. Cody Martin was tremendous, notching 25 points to go with seven assists. The junior forward is on a solid 16 for 29 stretch from the field in his two tournament games, and he is currently averaging 13.9 points on a 51.7% field goal percentage. Wolfpack’ leading scorer Caleb Martin wasn’t sharp in the victory on Sunday, sinking 4 of 12 field goals for only 10 points. The junior forward did record a double-double in the first round OT win against Texas, and he is having a stellar season, posting an average of 18.8 points and 5.4 rebounds per game.
The Wolfpack have shown great poise, erasing a 13 point deficit against Texas followed by the 22 point comeback on Sunday. They are a very talented team that can score points in many ways, and their 49% shooting performance is an accomplishment very few teams have been able to achieve against Cincinnati’s stifling defense. Nevada is scoring an average of 83 points, good for 16th in the country. They are holding opponents to 73.2 points, placing them 194th overall.
The Loyola Chicago Ramblers are:
- No Key Trends
The Nevada Wolfpack are:
- 11-4 ATS in their last 15 non-conference games.
- 18-7-1 ATS in their last 26 games following an ATS win.
- 34-14-4 ATS in their last 52 games against a team with a winning record.
I am taking Nevada in this matchup. Nevada was just able to defeat second seed Cincinnati and I am confident their outstanding scoring depth can solve the Ramblers defense. The Wolfpack were able to shoot 50% against Texas, and 49% against a Cincinnati team that is one of the best defensive teams in the country. Furthermore, Nevada is the higher scoring team in this matchup, and Loyola Chicago has scored 65 or fewer points in five consecutive games. The Wolfpack are holding opponents to 31.6% shooting from three-point territory so they should neutralize the Ramblers three-point scoring.
Pick: Nevada Wolfpack
The Ramblers have only scored 64 and 63 points respectively in their last two games and Nevada is up against a stifling Loyola Chicago defense. I expect a low scoring battle between two teams that defend the three well. The Ramblers limited Miami and Tennessee to 62 points, and the under is 7-0 in their last seven games overall. Nevada just held Cincinnati to 40.9% shooting, and the over is 4-0 in the Ramblers’ last four non-conference games.