Wichita State Shockers vs. Loyola of Chicago Ramblers - 1/28/14
Loyola of Chicago Ramblers (8-12) at Wichita State Shockers (21-0)
College Basketball: Tuesday, January 28, 2014 at 8:00 pm (Charles Koch Arena)
The Line: Wichita State Shockers -21 -- Over/Under: TBA See the Latest Odds
The Wichita State Shockers head home after a 2-game road trip to put their undefeated record on the line again against the Loyola Ramblers on Tuesday night at the Roundhouse in Wichita.
The latest polls have the Shockers up to #4 nationally and they don’t seem to be satisfied with each passing week – not so much that they aren’t being considered as the #1 team, but they won’t be pleased until they run the course of the Valley without a loss. The last time out, they easily handled the home Drake Bulldogs behind senior Cleanthony Early’s 19 points and 7 boards. The trio of guards Ron Baker, Tekele Cotton, and Fred VanVleet were their usual solid selves with 14, 8, and 9 respectively. Sophomore Fred VanVleet has quietly become one of the most reliable point guards in the country tallying 13.3 ppg and having an astounding assist:turnover ratio of nearly 4:1. Rebounding is this team’s forte, as they hold a +8.1 rebounding edge on their opponents on the season. It’s a collective effort as Early is the only guy with 6 or more rebounds per game. Head coach Gregg Marshall is the right guy to possibly lead this team to a perfect season – the odds are still against them, but he knows how to get the most out of his guys every night and has formed leaders on the team to get them back on track within games if things start to go the wrong way. Even if the Shockers find themselves down at halftime in future games, they can fall back on 2 Valley road games in which that happened, and they managed to pull out wins.
Reese Strickland-USA TODAY Sport
The Loyola Ramblers are a pretty good below .500 team, and they have been competitive in nearly every game this season. They have been involved in 13 games decided by 6 points or less, but have won just 4 of those. Most foresaw their current league record (3-5), but not many thought they would be so competitive in their 1st season in this league. A big part of their competitiveness has been freshman Milton Doyle, who is averaging 16 points per game. He is accompanied by Christian Thomas (14.3 ppg) and Jeff Harris (11 ppg). In their last game, the Ramblers took it to the visiting Northern Iowa Panthers and knocked them off in overtime for a bit of an upset. They shot 56% from the floor and 45% from downtown. Doyle had the hot hand and finished with 28 points on 8/11 shooting, while Thomas netted 20. Head coach Porter Moser is in his 2nd season at Loyola and seems to be finding decent recruits and building a team that can soon be a threat to finish in the top half of the league. They are one of the top shooting teams in the Valley at nearly 49% and hold opponents to 44%. They are still in search of their first true road win. Will it happen on Tuesday night in front of one of the loudest arena’s in the country?
It's very doubtful that Loyola even comes within single-digits, but who knows. They have nothing to lose really and have proven they can stay in games all season. But this is a different beast and they have played nobody near the level of the Shockers. The question is will they come within the huge point spread? The Shockers CAN win by 30+, but does it matter to them to run up the score?. In a previous game though, they led Bradley by about 35, but then emptied the bench and the result was a 22-point win. I think Loyola hangs a little tougher overall than did Bradley, but lose by 25-ish. I just don’t like betting on a huge spread like this personally, but they have covered in so many games this season, why not?