1-star (815/816) Loyola-Chicago/Nevada UNDER 143.5. 7:07pm ET. Uncharted territory for both teams in this one and I expect there to be some nerves early. To me, that means more calculated offensive possessions and maximum intensity on defense. Loyola-Chicago has been a dead-nut UNDER team down the stretch with the UNDER going 7-0 in their last 7 games with an average total score of just 121 ppg. Now, this is their highest totals' line in any game since a December 6th match-up vs Florida that went UNDER by 26.5 points. While each of Nevada's last 3 games have went OVER the total, 2 of those games (Texas and Cincinnati) saw a lot of late-game scoring especially the Texas game that didn't go OVER the total until OT (misleading). Prior to that recent stretch, Nevada was more of an UNDER team as they saw the UNDER go 9-5-1 in their previous 15 games.
Lean: (814) Kentucky -5 over Kansas State. 9:37pm ET. Kentucky is on a 9-1 SU/ATS run in their last 10 games and no team has made us more money in that span than the Wildcats from Lexington. However, now the markets are starting to catch on as in the second round Kentucky was laying a similar number to an inferior Buffalo team (albeit UK won by 20 and it was a 2-star play for us). Kansas State won their first two games of the NCAA tournament without their leading scorer Dean Wade (16.6 ppg) who is expected to play here but is unlikely to be 100%. UK has the far superior offense (No. 20 vs No. 77) and will have at least 75% of the crowd support here in Atlanta (worth a point in the power rating). Finally, John Calipari is 11-2 SU/ATS in the Sweet 16 round in his career.
Lean: (818) Michigan -2.5 over Texas A&M. 7:27pm ET. The Wolverines did not play well in the first two rounds of the NCAA tournament but yet find themselves here in the Sweet 16. Michigan hit only 35.6% from the field vs Houston, their worst shooting performance of the entire season. I like playing on teams off poor outlier performances. Meanwhile, Texas A&M in the second round played their best game since possibly the opening game of the season as they hammered North Carolina. Obviously, the Aggies underachieved for most of the season but some of that was due to injuries/suspensions. I think both of these teams are "play-on" teams but I just trust Michigan's long-term success (23-4 SU/19-8 ATS last 27 games) more. Also John Beilein's track record in the NCAA tournament (21-10 ATS) is superior. If you had to get involved on the total, I would lean UNDER 137.
Lean: (820) Gonzaga -6 over Florida State. 10:07pm ET. One of our few top-rated losses so far in the tournament came against Florida State in their second round upset over Xavier. Keep in mind, the Seminoles trailed that game by 9 late but closed the game on a 18-4 run fully taking advantage of a Xavier team that saw their point guard J.P. Macura in foul trouble (FSU outscored Xavier 25-9 with Macura on the bench). Now they face a Gonzaga team that should have a big crowd advantage here in Los Angeles. Gonzaga is on a 6-12 ATS run but the Zags are 3-0 ATS in that stretch when laying 6 points or less. I'm not sure FSU can keep counting on their bench to win them games (their bench has outscored their starters in the last 4 games) and prior to the tournament the Noles were just 4-6 SU/1-8-1 ATS in their previous 10 games.