Categories: NCAAM

Loyola-Chicago vs. Nevada – NCAA Sweet 16 Tournament Pick

All odds that are referenced in this article were taken from 5Dimes at 11:42 am CT on 3/21/2018. These odds may have changed since the time of this writing.

My March Madness predictions haven’t been overly rewarding thus far, but the logic has been solid. I narrowly missed out on an Oklahoma upset (they lost to Rhode Island in overtime), while Florida lost a barn burner (69-66) against Texas Tech.

Fortunately, I nailed my favorite pick of the opening two rounds, when Marshall took down Wichita State. I suggested that the Shockers were vulnerable to a straight up loss, but I absolutely loved Marshall to beat a gaudy +12 spread.

Marshall made good on that pick and I’ll enter the Sweet 16 with a better than advertised 1-2 mark with my college basketball betting picks.

That’s not an elite standing, but if you followed my logic and took Marshall SU (+600 at BetOnline!) you would have made out with a huge win.

It’s onward and upward come Thursday when the Sweet 16 arrives and the road to the 2018 Final Four marches on.

There are just four games to work with on both Thursday and Friday, so you do need to pick your spots here a bit. Of the four Thursday games, my favorite one to target happens to be between a very stingy Loyola-Chicago defense and an explosive Nevada offense.

Something has to break here, while Vegas presently likes the Wolfpack (-1.5 at 5Dimes) by a hair.

Is that the way bettors should target this game, or is there another bet you should be considering? Let’s break this Sweet Sixteen clash down to find out:

Loyola (+1.5)
VS
Nevada (-1.5)
Total: 143

This could be one of the better Sweet 16 showdowns, simply based on a clear contrast in playing styles. Nevada (29-7) will understandably look to push the pace and put up points, hoping the 14th best scoring offense in the country wins out.

The Ramblers (30-5) will look to do the exact opposite (4th in defense) as they hope to snuff out a potent Nevada offense.

That has been the trend through two March Madness wins so far. Loyola-Chicago’s blistering defense has been even better than advertised, as they held potent Miami and Tennessee teams to exactly 62 points.

That met Loyola-Chicago’s season average, while the crazy part is they weren’t even that smothering when it comes to the percentages. The major difference? Loyola-Chicago dictated the pace early and closed out in the clutch.

Something tells me doing that for a third straight game could prove to be difficult.

While the Ramblers have gotten the job done so far, they haven’t been pushed to really deliver offensively yet.

Nevada could do that, especially when you look at their crazy overtime win in round one over Texas and their heroic comeback win against a Cincinnati defense (2nd in the nation) that’s even stingier than Loyola-Chicago.

Defense does tend to win championships, but during March Madness offense is often a little more impactful. After all, the two best defenses in the nation (Virginia and Cincinnati) are already watching the games from home.

Nevada can kill anyone from long range and they’ve already proven they can win tight battles, whether they’re close from the beginning or take a comeback to pull off.

Loyola-Chicago, on the other hand has shown one gear so far and if they aren’t converting offensively, they could get in serious trouble here. Nevada being able to erase a 22-point hole against an even better Cincy defense makes them extremely dangerous.

Vegas is rightfully calling this one close to the chest, but Nevada was the superior seed and is by far the more talented team offensively. I think Loyola-Chicago struggles to control the pace in this one and finally runs out of luck.

Kevin Roberts

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Kevin Roberts

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