2018 NCAA Tournament South Region Preview: Can Nevada play underdog to a title run?

2018 NCAA Tournament South Region Preview: No. 10 Texas Longhorns vs. No. 7 Nevada Wolf Pack

Date: March 16, 2018

Location: Bridgestone Arena, Nashville, Tennessee

Time: 4:30 PM ET

TV: TBS

Seeing how Oklahoma performed today with Trae Young, is it safe to say the Big 12 is over rated and that this might be the perfect opportunity for Nevada to play Cinderella?  There’s just one problem with this: Everyone realized how good Nevada was, to the point where they were ranked multiple times this season (and were ranked going into the NCAA Tournament despite two losses to San Diego State in a little over a week).  Rhode Island beat Oklahoma on the first day?  No problem, Nevada already beat the A10 champion once.  Eric Mussleman’s team can do almost anything and it starts with the Martin twins.

Cody and Caleb Martin have been leading the Pack to become an offensive powerhouse this season.  The duo average nearly 33 PPG and 12 RPG together, but where Caleb has been the go-to for points, Cody has become a lockdown on defense.  It’s Cody who will take this team to the next level: he leads with 48 blocks and 55 steals, and while those aren’t fully eye-popping numbers, when it comes to taking on the big-men of Texas, agility on defense will be key.

Texas loves to play the slow game, so if Cody Martin can force turnovers and steals, Caleb Martin and Jordan Caroline (another high-scoring player) should be able to provide speed and efficiency on transition baskets.  The downside to this would be if Texas is allowed to play it’s slow-pace, Nevada will find itself exiting early via a humiliating loss like what they did against University of San Francisco earlier this season (a 66-64 eye-gouging snoozefest).  With that being said, the key for Nevada is to hit 73 points in order to have a good feeling about a win.  If they approach that point with the score being high 60’s or low 70’s and close, the nail-biters won’t have anything left to chew on except cuticles and bones.

Prediction:

Nevada should be able to take care of business here.  With a big win, the folks in Reno will start longing for a National Championship run of their own so as to rub it in the faces of their enemies neighbors down south.  The Martin twins officially announce their presence in the Tournament and Caroline leads the Wolf Pack with 30 points. Nevada 87, Texas 67

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