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Sister Jean isn't going to bless this pick

Greg Peterson

March 22, 2018 01:29 AM

Nevada (-1.5) vs Loyola Chicago

Nevada and Loyola enter riding a ton of momentum with their Cinderella status.

Nevada's Caleb Martin will be the best player on the floor in this one. With his team hobbled by injuries, he has been the gadget guy for the Wolf Pack, dropping 25 points, seven assists, and six rebounds on Cincinnati.

Loyola has a bit more size in the post with 6-foot-9 freshman Cameron Krutwig emerging as a key cog for the Ramblers, scoring 14 points in the team’s last 18 games.

Peterson's pick: Loyola has the second-most efficient defense in points per possession allowed in the dance, but it has not seen an offense like Nevada's, which is eighth nationally in efficiency. The speed of Nevada will send Eric Musselman's bunch to the Elite Eight.

Texas A&M (plus 3) vs Michigan

Though the Aggies are the lower seed, this team is more athletic and talented than the Wolverines.

Michigan plays at one of the slowest tempos of any team left in the tournament and relies more on being efficient rather than ripping a game open like Texas A&M did vs. North Carolina.

Few players have been able to defend Mo Wagner, the Wolverines’ versatile 6-foot-11 3-point shooting big man, but the Aggies have as many as four options to guard him.

6-foot-9 DJ Hogg also should present matchup issues for Michigan as he shoots over 38 percent from 3-point range and is second on the team in assists per game.

Peterson's pick: Add all of the above to the fact that Michigan is one of the bottom 25 teams in the country in free-throw shooting and it leads to a perfect recipe for a Texas A&M win in this spot.

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