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The Sweet 16 kicks off this weekend, so is it time to follow or fade the public? The big dogs are still here, as Houston, Gonzaga, Baylor and Michigan — all 1 or 2 seeds — made the Sweet 16. A few Cinderella teams — Oregon State, Oral Roberts, Syracuse and UCLA, all 11th seeds or worse — have also made their way to the 3rd round.
No. 12 Oregon State vs. No. 8 Loyola Chicago (-7) – 2:40 p.m. ET
The first game that we will be looking at what the public is doing is the 2:40 game. 12th seed Oregon State is going against 8th seed Loyola Chicago. Loyola is the favorite at -6.5, and the total is set at 125.5 points. The public is rooting for points, as 87% of the picks are on the over. Loyola is one of the best defensive teams in the country. According to Kenpom, Loyola has an 86.1 Adjusted Efficiency, which is 1st in the nation. The Ramblers don’t give up offensive rebounds, allowing just 20.6% offensive rebounds, good for 2nd in the country. Tempo determines how many points will be scored, and both the Ramblers and Beavers play a slow tempo style. Loyola is 342nd in the nation with a 63.8 adjusted tempo, and Oregon State ranks 303rd in the nation with a 65.6 adjusted tempo. Oregon State is an excellent team at defending the 3 as they allowed 30.7% from deep, 35th in the nation. This is an ideal matchup for the Beavers. They defend the 3 great, and Loyola shoots 36% from 3, 68th in the nation. This matchup screams under, and we will be fading the public with under 125.5 points.
The pick: Under 125.5 points
No. 5 Villanova vs. No. 1 Baylor (-7.5) – 5:15 p.m. ET
The next game is the 5:15 game. 5th seed Villanova is going against 1st seed Baylor. Baylor is the favorite at -7.5, and the total is set at 141.5 points. The public is backing the Bears as 70% are on Baylor. Baylor is a juggernaut this year on both offense and defense. According to Kenpom, the Bears are 3rd for Adjusted Efficiency with a 122.8 on offense and 37th in the nation for Adjusted Efficiency with a 93.1 on defense. Baylor is the best team in the country from deep, averaging 41.5% from 3. They’re not only dynamic from 3, but their effective FG% was 56.9%, 3rd in the nation. Villanova is a great team as they’ve made the Sweet 16, even without Colin Gillespie. The Wildcats aren’t going to be able to slow down the Bears’ dynamic offense however. Villanova’s defense allowed 51.2% for their Effective FG%, 221st in the nation, and 34.9% from deep, 237th in the nation. This matchup is a nightmare for Villanova. We’re following the public with this pick and backing Baylor.
The pick: Baylor -7.5
No. 11 Syracuse vs. No. 2 Houston (-6) – 9:55 p.m. ET
The last game that we are looking at is the 9:55 game. 11th seed Syracuse is going against 2nd seed Houston. Houston is the favorite at -6, and the total is set at 140.5 points. The public is rooting for points as 58% of the bets are on the over. The Cougars are one of the nation’s best teams on defense. According to Kenpom, Houston has the 11th best Adjusted Efficiency with 89.9 and allowed 43.3% for their Effective FG%. Houston plays at a slow tempo as their adjusted tempo was 64.7, 325th in the nation. Slow tempo means fewer points. The 2-3 zone trips teams up, and the Orange have lived and died by the 2-3 zone forever. They aren’t a top-notch defensive team as they ranked 86th in the nation with 97.2 Adjusted Efficiency and allowed teams to shoot 31.9% from deep. Syracuse’s offense is great as their Adjusted Efficiency was 114.8 17th in the nation. The Orange will be going against a great defense. In the last five games, Houston has allowed only 59.2ppg. We’re fading the public and rooting for bricks and a low number of points.
The pick: Under 140.5 points