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Categorized | NCAAB

2018 Sweet 16 South Region Predictions and Free Picks – NCAA Tournament Predictions

2018 Sweet 16 South Region Predictions and Free Picks – NCAA Tournament Predictions: The South Region of the NCAA Tournament has turned into a grenade that has blown up just about every bracket in existence. UMBC’s upset of top-seeded Virginia will go down in history as the first time a No. 16 seed has ever won, but as we head to the Sweet 16, none of the top four seeds in the region are still around.

Fifth-seeded Kentucky is the top remaining seed, and they will be joined by seventh-seeded Nevada, ninth-seeded Kansas State and 11th-seeded Loyola-Chicago. Needless to say, there is going to be at least one surprise team in the Final Four this year because all the favorites in the South Region are already home.

Let’s check out the matchups.

2018 Sweet 16 South Region Predictions and Free Picks – NCAA Tournament Predictions

2018 Sweet 16 South Region Matchup Previews

No. 9 Kansas State vs. No. 5 Kentucky

How lucky is Kentucky? After head coach John Calipari complained about being put in such a tough region, the seas have parted, and one of his worst teams suddenly has a nice path to the Final Four.

Yes, they first have to get by another group of Wildcats to reach the Elite Eight, but if you watched Kansas State against UMBC, you know Kentucky has little to worry about. Kansas State made just one 3-pointer and committed 18 turnovers in an ugly 50-43 win over a UMBC team that remembered that it wasn’t very good.

If Kansas State plays that brand of basketball in this one, Kentucky will run them off the floor. Even if Kansas State brings a better effort, Kentucky has the edge in athleticism and should be able to win on the strength of its defense alone. Throw in the fact that freshman guard Shai Gilgeous-Alexander is now playing like a lottery pick, and Kentucky should be just fine.

Projected Winner: Kentucky Wildcats

No. 11 Loyola-Chicago vs. No. 7 Nevada

Both these teams have survived multiple nailbiters to reach the Sweet 16. Loyola-Chicago beat Miami at the buzzer 64-62 and then held on to knock of Tennessee 63-62. Meanwhile, Nevada came back from the dead against both Texas and Cincinnati, storming from 22 points back midway through the second half to upset the Bearcats. The magical run of one of these teams have to come to an end.

Although both sides have been pulling out thrilling wins during the NCAA Tournament, they couldn’t be more different on the court. The Wolf Pack have an up-tempo offensive attack that is fueled by the 3-point shot. The Ramblers try to grind out games by controlling the pace and playing relentless defense. For the year, Nevada is averaging 11.1 more points per game, but Loyola-Chicago is allowing 11.0 fewer points per game.

In many ways, Loyola-Chicago’s defensive mindset is a lot like the mindset of the two teams Nevada has already beaten in the tournament, Texas and Cincinnati. However, the Ramblers have what the Longhorns and Bearcats don’t, an efficient offense. The Ramblers are hitting more than 50 percent of their shots on the year, and it is their commitment to an offensive philosophy that allows them to lock teams down defensively. They don’t take bad shots.

Loyola-Chicago dictated the pace against both Miami and Tennessee, and I don’t see that changing in this one. The Wolf Pack are going to keep it close, but the Ramblers will hold off another Nevada comeback and continue their surprise run.

Projected Winner: Loyola-Chicago Ramblers

You can get expert 2018 NCAA Tournament picks and 2018 NCAA Tournament predictions this month from NSAwins.com’s top handicappers plus a pre-filled downloadable and printable 2018 NCAA Tournament Bracket to help you win your office pool!

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