The Loyola (Chicago) Ramblers burst onto the national scene with their Cinderella Final Four run in the 2018 NCAA Tournament. Porter Moser’s team was an 11-seed that year. As Missouri Valley Conference regular-season and tournament champions this year, the Ramblers enter the Big Dance seeded 8th in the Midwest Region.
Of course, being the 8-seed means Loyola won’t make it out of the first weekend without running into the top seed in their region. Nonetheless, the Ramblers bring plenty of talent and experience to the table. Read on for an overview of the Loyola (Chicago) Ramblers and a prediction for how they’ll fare in the NCAA Tournament.
Loyola (Chicago) Ramblers Betting Preview
Record: 24-4 overall, 16-2 Missouri Valley
Points Scored/Game: 71.5 (170th overall, 4th in Missouri Valley)
Points Allowed/Game: 55.5 (1st overall, 1st in Missouri Valley)
Outright Odds: +6500 (BettingPros Consensus)
Defense and perhaps the best center in all of college basketball. The Ramblers suffocated opponents all season long on the defensive end to the tune of allowing just 55.5 points per game. That mark was good for the top scoring defense in the entire country, let alone the Missouri Valley.
— CBS Sports Network (@CBSSportsNet) March 6, 2021
Cameron Krutwig is undoubtedly a familiar name for those who followed Loyola (Chicago) on their 2018 Final Four run. He was just a freshman at the time yet still had a major impact. Fast forward to this season, and Krutwig leads the Ramblers in points, rebounds, and assists. His footwork and basketball IQ are off the charts. Teams will have no choice but to try and get him into foul trouble early in games. Otherwise, he will wreak havoc in the post all game long.
The big concern surrounding Loyola (Chicago) is who, if anyone, is capable of stepping up as the second option to Krutwig offensively. No other Ramblers averaged in double figures scoring this season which lends to the notion that they are a bit of a one-trick pony. If Krutwig does get into foul trouble in any game, Loyola will be up against it in a big way.
Why They’ll Win it All
Loyola (Chicago) didn’t finish the year ranked 10th in the College Basketball Net by chance. This team is talented and experienced. They have the 2018 Final Four run to fall back on. No moment figures to be too big for the Ramblers in this year’s NCAA Tournament. Porter Moser is an excellent coach and will have them ready to go regardless of opponent. Plus, Sister Jean will, in fact, be in Indiana for the tournament. A little bit of her magic touch will certainly help the cause.
Why They Won’t Win it All
Loyola (Chicago) won’t advance far in the NCAA Tournament if no other scoring threats emerge behind Cameron Krutwig. The big man can only do so much against the top college basketball teams in the country. Outside of team-centric concerns, the fact that the Ramblers will run into 1-seed Illinois in the Second Round also puts a major damper on their hopes of making another Final Four run.
Loyola (Chicago) Ramblers March Madness Prediction
As much as I’d love to say this team has the same magic as the Loyola team we saw three years ago, the looming presence of Illinois makes it impossible to say they’ll go far in this year’s tournament. The Ramblers have the goods to get past a scrappy Georgia Tech team in their First Round 8-9 matchup. But as good as Cameron Krutwig is, he’s no match physically for Illinois big man Kofi Cockburn. I don’t see Loyola (Chicago) getting past the first weekend this year.
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