Nevada Wolf Pack (28-7) at Cincinnati Bearcats (31-4)
College Basketball: Sunday, March 18, 2018 at 6:10 pm (Bridgestone Arena)
The Line: Cincinnati Bearcats -6.5 -- Over/Under: 138 Click to Get Latest Betting Odds
The Nevada Wolfpack and Cincinnati Bearcats will square off at Bridgestone Arena this Sunday night in the 2nd round of the NCAA Tournament.
The 7-seed Nevada Wolf Pack (28-7) used an incredible 2nd half comeback to fight back and defeat the 10-seed Texas Longhorns, 87-83 in OT, on Friday night. Nevada trailed by a 14-point margin early in the 2nd half, however, was able to force OT and pulled way a Jordan Caroline free-throw gave the Wolf Pack an 85-80 lead with just 22 seconds left in OT. Nevada shot 50.8% from the field and 37.9% (11-29) from beyond the arc in the victory. Leading the way for the Wolf Pack was Caleb Martin who had a double-double with 18 points, 10 rebounds, 5 assists, and a steal. On the season, Nevada is averaging 83.2 ppg on 47.0% shooting from the field. The Wolf Pack are averaging 9.7 three-pointers per game on 39.7% shooting from beyond the arc. Offensively, Nevada has been led by Caleb Martin (19.1 ppg, 5.4 rpg, 2.6 apg, 1.2 spg), Jordan Caroline (17.8 ppg, 8.7 rpg, 2.2 apg), Cody Martin (13.6 ppg, 6.3 rpg, 4.6 apg, 1.6 spg, 1.5 bpg), and Kendall Stephens (13.4 ppg, 2.0 rpg). Defensively, Nevada is allowing their opponents to average 73.2 ppg on 43.1% shooting from the field. The Wolf Pack have a rebound margin of -0.3 and a turnover margin of 3.0.
The 2-seed Cincinnati Bearcats improved to 31-4 on the season and advanced to the 2nd round of the NCAA Tournament after defeating the Georgia State Panthers, 68-53, this past Friday afternoon. Cincinnati got up to a sluggish start before taking a 35-30 halftime lead and was able to pull away late after a 17-2 Bearcats run gave Cincinnati a 63-49 lead with just 2:01 left in regulation. Cincinnati was outstanding on the defensive end against Georgia State as they held the Panthers to just 39.6% shooting from the field and 29.6% (8-27) shooting from beyond the arc. Leading the way for the Bearcats was Jarron Cumberland who had a double-double with 27 points, 11 rebounds, 2 assists, and 2 steals. On the season, Cincinnati is averaging 74.3 ppg on 45.1% shooting from the field. The Bearcats are averaging 7.3 three-pointers per game on 35.4% shooting from beyond the arc. Offensively, Cincinnati has been led by Gary Clark (12.9 ppg, 8.7 rpg, 2.1 apg, 1.5 spg, 1.2 bpg), Jacob Evans (12.8 ppg, 4.7 rpg, 3.2 apg, 1.3 spg), Kyle Washington (11.3 ppg, 5.3 rpg, 1.4 bpg), and Jarron Cumberland (11.3 ppg, 3.9 rpg, 2.9 apg, 1.0 spg). Defensively, Cincinnati is holding their opponents to an average of 57.0 ppg on 37.1% shooting from the field. The Bearcats have a rebound margin of 7.7 and a turnover margin of 3.3.
The Wolf Pack are 10-4 ATS in their last 14 non-conference games and 25-12-4 ATS in their last 41 games vs. a team with a winning % above .600. The Bearcats are 20-42 ATS in their last 62 Sunday games and just 1-4 ATS in their last 5 neutral site games.
Nevada struggled a bit towards the end of the season, however, the Wolf Pack are a very dangerous offensive team that comes into this game ranked 16th in scoring offense, 60th in FG%, and 29th in three-pointers made per game. Cincinnati is one of the best defensive teams in the country as they displayed against Georgia State and come into this matchup ranked 2nd in scoring defense, 2nd in defensive FG%, and 8th in rebound margin. Cincinnati should have an easier time scoring the basketball against the Wolf Pack defense that ranks just 197th in scoring defense then they did against Georgia State and as I think the Bearcats defense will give Nevada some trouble, I think the Bearcats once again pull away in the 2nd half and cover this spread.