Loyola of Chicago Ramblers vs. Missouri State Bears - 1/5/14
Missouri State Bears (11-2) at Loyola of Chicago Ramblers (5-8)
College Basketball: Sunday, January 5, 2014 at 4:00 pm (Joseph J. Gentile Center)
The Line: Loyola of Chicago Ramblers +3 -- Over/Under: TBA See the Latest Odds
The Missouri State Bears travel to play a Sunday afternoon matinee at Loyola University on Sunday afternoon at the Gentile Center in Chicago.
Loyola will be happy to be playing at their home gym where they have played much better than on the road. They carry a 4-1 home record into the Missouri Valley home opener, and should have a perfect record but for a 2nd half collapse in their last home game vs. Northern Illinois where they led by double-digits at halftime. The Ramblers are hitting about 48% of their field goals this season, but they surrender about the same percentage to opponents. They are led in scoring by a freshman, Milton Doyle, who averages about 15 ppg. They need to get a boost from other teammates, as just 3 players average more than 10 points per game and the scoring averages dip below 10 beyond those three.
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The Missouri State Bears have stormed out to an 11-2 record overall. Third year head coach Paul Lusk has the team playing hard and are now at full strength with the return of seniors Keith Pickens and Jarmar Gulley, who both got injured in mid November and returned a month later. The Bears bring a balanced scoring attack with sophomore guard Marcus Marshall (14 ppg) and Gulley (13.5 ppg) being the only double-digit scorers, but unlike Loyola, have many others to count on. They have 5 others who average between 5 and 8 points and have several role players who can both rebound and score. The Bears have quality wins over Tulsa, Old Dominion, and Oral Roberts. They escaped an overtime win in their league opener vs. Illinois State.
The Missouri State Bears are no slouch away from home, while Loyola plays much tougher at home. Other than getting pounded by a couple ranked opponents in the non-conference slate, Missouri State has played well on the road. I expect a tight game as Loyola’s head coach Porter Moser has coached in the Valley before and knows how important picking up wins at home are in the Valley. Loyola does not have a particularly strong fan base though. I see the Bears winning by close to 10 with their depth.