NCAA South Region Sweet 16 Bracket Analysis

NCAA South Region Sweet 16 Bracket Analysis

The first week of the NCAA tournament is over, and as expected, there were quite a few upsets. Now that there are only 16 teams left, let’s take a look the Sweet 16 bracket for the South Region.

NCAA Tournament 2018 South Region Analysis

#11 Loyola-Chicago vs #7 Nevada

  • When: March 22, 2018, 7:07 PM ET
  • Where: Philips Arena
  • Spread: Nevada -1.5
  • Total: 143.5

Loyola-Chicago Ramblers Analysis

The Ramblers tipped off in this tournament with an upset of #6 Miami in the first round and #3 Tennessee in the second round to advance to the Sweet Sixteen. Both wins came by unbelievable buzzer-beaters that give credence to March Madness.

Now, they have to contend with a Nevada team that knocked off second-seeded Cincinnati to book their ticket to Atlanta.

Loyola-Chicago has been relying on what got them to the tournament, which is their defense. The Ramblers finished the season fifth in the country, holding opponents to 62.2 points per game.

They will have to be great again on the defensive end if they want to defeat the Wolf Pack. They will also need to play very well on offense because it will be difficult to beat Nevada if they can’t get to 70 points.

Loyola shot 47 percent from the floor against Miami and hit eight of 21 from long range. They then shot 50 percent against the Volunteers hitting eight of 20 from three-point land. They’ll need this type of shooting if they want to defeat Nevada.

Nevada Wolf Pack Analysis

The Wolf Pack were able to avoid being upset by Texas in the first round of the tournament and rained on the second-seeded Cincinnati Bearcats’ parade in the second round behind an epic 22-point comeback. 

Now they will be going up the best defensive team they have faced in the tournament and have to figure out a way to ramp up their offense.

The Wolf Pack has one of the best offenses in the country, averaging 83 points per game.

Four players average at least 13 points, but it is junior forward Caleb Martin (18.8 ppg), his twin Cody Martin (13.9) and Champaign native Jordan Caroline (17.7) who have been reliable all season.

With the Ramblers scoring less than 63 points per game, the Wolf Pack will need to shoot the ball very well and make things difficult for the Ramblers, who haven’t scored more than 64 points in a game during the tournament.

Nevada shoots 47 percent from the field, compared with Loyola’s 50.6 percent, and ranks sixth in Kenpom.com’s adjusted offensive efficiency ratings. The Wolf Pack shot 51 percent from the floor against Texas and committed just seven turnovers; then they shot 49 percent with just two turnovers against Cincinnati. They’ll need this balance to defeat their opponents.

Pick: Nevada.

#9 Kansas State vs #5 Kentucky

  • When: March 22, 2018, 9:37 PM ET
  • Where: Philips Arena
  • Spread: -5.5
  • Total: 138.5

Kansas State Wildcats Analysis

The Wildcats defeated #8 Creighton in the first round of the tournament and got to avoid facing the top overall seed in the tournament thanks to #16 UMBC, which pulled off the biggest upset in the tournament by defeating #1 Virginia in the first round.

The Wildcats made sure not to overlook the Retrievers and defeated them 50-43 to advance to the Sweet Sixteen. Now, they will have to figure out a way to stop a Kentucky team that has been playing very well of late.

Kansas State is hoping forward Dean Wade, who missed the Wildcats’ last three games with a stress fracture in his foot, will be back for this game. Wade, a versatile player, led Kansas State with 16.5 points per game and is shooting 44 percent behind the arc.

Kansas State’s will likely follow its tried and true formula of a strong and aggressive defensive play coupled with the scoring combo of Wade and Barry Brown (16 ppg, 3.4 apg, 1.8 spg).

Kansas State, however, does struggle on rebounding. They’re also weak against teams with good guard play, which is mostly the reason why they were 0-7 against West Virginia, Texas Tech, and Kansas.

Kentucky Wildcats Analysis

The Wildcats struggled during the regular season, but they have been playing well lately, winning the SEC tournament and their first two games of the NCAA tournament, despite the doubters expecting them to be eliminated in the first round.

After two relatively easy wins against Davidson and Buffalo in the first two rounds, the Wildcats are expected to have their hands full with Kansas State, one of the toughest defensive teams they will play this year.

The Wildcats had their problems with defensive-minded teams this season, and if they struggle with their shot on Thursday, they will be in for a very long night.

Few teams though can match Kentucky’s overall talent. When Kentucky is clicking, they overwhelm opponents with their athleticism; but it’s their dominance on the boards which sets them apart. They’re also excellent at killing opponent’s shooting, allowing just 29.9 percent behind the arc.  

Pick: Kentucky.

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