Despite being a #8 seed in the SEC tournament, Florida went on an impressive run. They easily knocked off #9 Arkansas, and in the second round, were able to take down #1 LSU in a tight battle. #5 Auburn beat them in a tight game, but their success in the conference tournament was enough to put them in the big dance again.
Nevada was a surprising letdown in the Mountain West tournament. They finished as the regular season #1 seed, but after beating #8 Boise State, could not get it done against #4 San Diego State. A second-round exit for them was just their fourth loss of the year, and why they are likely slotted in as a #7 seed here.
This scrappy group was able to get into the tournament and likely has one of the worst records among the qualifiers. But they believe that they belong here. They have just one player scoring in double figures this year, and it’s KeVaughn Allen and his 12 points per game. He and Noah Locke (78 threes) have proven to be deadly long-ball shooters, something that could really serve to benefit the Gators. If they cannot find a few guys to go above and beyond their scoring averages, they won’t have a chance.
Aside from Allen, the team has nobody shooting better than 76% at the free-throw line, and there is no doubt that drawing contact in the lane and finishing plays at the charity stripe will play a role in this game. But if they can hit their shots, they have a chance at upsetting Nevada.
The Wolf Pack lost only four games this year. One to #25 Utah State, two to San Diego State, and one to New Mexico. They regularly came away with victories, as their talented group out-did most of their opponents. Utah State was the single only nationally ranked team to get a win against them, which is very telling of the season that they just had. A first-round exit would undoubtedly serve to be a big disappointment for them.
This is the final go-round for the Martin twins. Caleb has had another exceptional season with 19 points per game, while Cody has averaged 12 to go with five assists. Jordan Caroline kept it going this year with his 17 points and ten boards per game. Jazz Johnson is scoring close to 12 a game. Caleb Martin, getting back to it, hit 105 threes this year while Johnson hit 70, so if the two of them can get a little outside-shot groove, watch out.
Nevada moves on
Be sure to bet NEV -2. The Wolf Pack are going to move into the second round of the tournament, as they look to make a run. They are just too talented to bow out in the first round.
Free Pick: NEV -2
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- Bet on the Nevada Wolf Pack -2
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