Third-seed Michigan takes on 11-seed Loyola-Chicago in the 2018 NCAA Tournament Final Four on Saturday at 6:09 p.m. ET. Michigan opened as a three-point favorite, but the line quickly moved to 5.5. The over-under, or total number of points Vegas thinks will be scored, is 129.5, up one from the opening line.
Before picking a side in this huge March Madness 2018 game, you need to see what the SportsLine Projection Model is saying. The advanced computer model enters the Final Four on an astonishing 8-1 run on 2018 NCAA Tournament picks.
It’s also been crushing its selections on Michigan, going 4-0 in the NCAA Tournament on point-spread picks in games involving the Wolverines. Anybody following the model is way, way up.
Now the computer has simulated Loyola-Chicago vs. Michigan 10,000 times and come up with some surprising results.
We can tell you it’s calling for 119 points to be scored, clearing the under with 10.5 to spare. And it also has a strong pick for one side of the spread, saying it hits in almost 60 percent of simulations. You can get that pick only over at SportsLine.
The model has taken into account Loyola’s stunning run through the NCAA Tournament that has the Ramblers (32-5) in the Final Four for the first time since 1963, becoming just the fourth 11-seed ever to make it this far.
They survived three nail-biting matchups to open the tournament before putting together a dominant 78-62 win over Kansas State in the Elite Eight. Loyola’s defense hasn’t given up more than 68 points in any NCAA Tournament game and now has the look of a legitimate title contender, flanked by chaplain Sister Jean.
But standing in the way of this Cinderella story is Michigan — a team that has also experienced plenty of madness this March.
The Wolverines (32-7) needed a clutch buzzer-beater to survive Houston in the second round. They then rolled through Texas A&M in the Sweet 16, but had to hold off a late charge from Florida State in the Elite Eight to advance to San Antonio.
They also rely on a tough defense that gives up an average of just 63.1 points and held FSU to 54. Offensively, 6-foot-11 forward Moritz Wagner is the player to watch; he’s averaged 15 points over the last three contests.
Both squads have been money against the spread this season, with Michigan going 22-13 and Loyola posting a 24-9 mark.