Loyola Chicago Ramblers (30-5) at Nevada Wolfpack (29-7)
Last night we took a brutal bad beat. We backed the Oklahoma State Cowboys at home against the Stanford Cardinal. The Cowboys looked like they were locks to win and cover as they were up ten points with just fourteen seconds left on the clock, and they were shooting free throws.
Ok State guard Jeffrey Carroll missed the second of two free throws, and the Cowboys had a 71-61 lead, laying -7.5-points. Then disaster struck. Stanford player Dorian Pickens gets fouled from three-point range. But somehow, he manages to make just two of three, and we are still covering with fourteen seconds left on the clock and the ball. Game over, right?
Nope. The Cowboys turn the ball over, and Michael Humphrey hits a meaningless layup with three seconds left in the game to spoil our cover. It was a rough way to lose a game. All the Cowboys had to do was not foul or turn the ball over for fourteen seconds, and we win. What can you do, sometimes you just run bad I guess.
Today will be looking forward to this weekend’s Sweet 16 matchup between the Loyola Chicago Ramblers and the Nevada Wolfpack.
The Loyola Chicago Ramblers will look to see if the clock strikes midnight on their Cinderella season Thursday, as they take on the Nevada Wolfpack with a spot in the Elite Eight on the line.
Loyola is tied with Syracuse for the highest remaining seed left in the tournament and will look to become the first ever eleven seed to win the NCAA tournament.
For Nevada, they are trying to catch their breath as they just wrapped up one of the greatest comebacks in NCAA history in their last game. The Wolfpack came back from twenty-two points down late in the second half to shock Cincinnati and advance to the Sweet 16.
The Wolfpack are -1.5-point favorites. The game total over-under is set at 143 points. Tipoff is scheduled for Thursday at 4:07 PM PST from Philips Arena in Atlanta, Georgia.
This Loyola Chicago team isn’t your typical Cinderella type of team. This team is the real deal. They haven’t gotten lucky to win any of their tournament games, and they now have thirty wins on the season. This isn’t some plucky underdog that nobody saw coming. Many sharps had Loyola advancing to the Sweet 16.
The Ramblers got the nation’s attention way back in December when they beat the Florida Gators, then ranked in the top five in the nation, in Gainesville. Some were quick to dispel the win as a fluke, but thirty wins later here we are with this team playing for a berth in the Elite Eight, and possibly the Final Four.
The Ramblers beat two very solid teams to get this far. They picked up a win against Miami and another against the Vols of Tennessee. Both of those games were tightly contested affairs, and this team knows how to win close games. The Ramblers have won nineteen out of their last twenty games going all the way back to the start of the year. This team isn’t scared at all of the moment, and they deserve to be here.
This Nevada-Reno Wolfpack has been a team that many expected to be a tough out in March all year long. They were the class of Mountain West this season and rolled to the regular season title. They slipped up a little bit down the stretch as they lost to San Diego State twice in one week. One of those being in the MWC tournament.
The Aztecs used those two wins to propel themselves into the Big Dance, whereas the two losses dropped the Wolfpack from a likely five or six seed, down to the seven seed they ended up getting.
The Wolfpack had a soft matchup in round one as they played a Texas Longhorn team that barely made the field and had their best player Mo Bamba, banged up. The Wolfpack took care of business in that one and advanced to play a very tough Cincinnati team.
With eleven minutes left on the clock, the Wolfpack trailed Cincinnati 65-43. The game was over, or at least it should have been. Nevada went on an all-time classic run and took the game 75-73. It was a comeback that will go down as one of the greatest ever. You just have to wonder though how much energy the Wolfpack will have left in the tank after that epic comeback.
This line opened at Nevada -2.5 points, and the sharps jumped all over it. The line has now dropped to Nevada -1.5-points, and it could close out at even or close to it. There just isn’t much separating these two teams and getting points seems like the right side to be on.
I just think that we aren’t done seeing the Ramblers play this year. They are a very talented team that plays great defense and shoots the deep ball well. I expect the Wolfpack to be emotionally exhausted after the week they have had and expect their season to come to an end against Loyola.
This Loyola team has won thirty games this year, they are not at all lacking in the confidence department, and I am sure they don’t feel lucky to be where they are. They are the better team that is red-hot right now and have all the swagger in the world.
Give me the Loyola Ramblers +1.5-points against Reno on Thursday!