The first contest in this article offers #13 Buffalo at #5 Kentucky at 5:15 p.m. E.T. The Wildcats are listed at -6.0 and the over/under is at 156. The second game features #11 Loyola (Chi) at #3 Tennessee. That game tips off at 6:10 p.m. E.T. The Vols are -5.0 and the over/under is 131.0.
#13 Buffalo at #5 Kentucky
South Region at 5:15 p.m.
When it comes to statistics Buffalo has the edge over Kentucky in points per game (84.9 to 76.8) and points allowed (68.0 to 73.0). Both connect on field goals at a rate of 47% and both teams bring down 39 RPG. The Bulls also have an edge in assists.
The Cats will depend upon three freshmen, forwards Kevin Knox and PJ Washington and guard Shai Gilgeous-Alexander. Knox averages 15.9 PPG and 5.4 RPG and Washington is good for 10.6 PPG and 5.4 RPG. Gilgeous-Alexander is offering 5.1 APG while scoring 14.0 PPG and grabbing 4.1 RPG.
We do expect points to be scored in this one. Kentucky has a weak defense and the Bulls tend to be able to run off a string of points quickly. We’re taking Buffalo at +6.0. We like the under at 156.0.
Our Picks: Buffalo at +6.0 and
#11 Loyola (Chi) at #3 Tennessee
South Region at 6:10 p.m.
The major difference between these two teams is defense. Both are scoring about 73 PPG, but Loyola is allowing opponents 62.0 PPG while Tennessee is giving up 47.0. The Ramblers are good on 51% of their field goals, while the Volunteers are connecting on just 44%. The Vols are better on frees, 76% to 72%, but the Ramblers hold an edge on three-point attempts, 40% to 38%.
If the Vols can impede the Rambler attack, they’ll move onto the next round. We believe that the Tennessee defense will come through and that the Vols will be in charge of the piant. We’re going with the Volunteers at -5.0 and the over at 131.0.
Our Picks: Tennessee at -5.0 and over 131.0
Round One 2018 NCAA Tournament Evening Picks: Final Word
We have four more matches to handicap today. Use our Round One 2018 NCAA Tournament evening picks, posted here, to get the best possible value on your bets. We do like Buffalo as a spoiler and Tennessee as a favorite.