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Evansville Purple Aces vs. Loyola of Chicago Ramblers - 1/18/14

Loyola of Chicago Ramblers (7-10) at Evansville Purple Aces (8-10)

College Basketball: Saturday, January 18, 2014 at 2:05 pm (Ford Center)

The Line: Evansville Purple Aces -5 -- Over/Under: TBA See the Latest Odds

TV: None

The Evansville Aces will try to put a win streak together as they host the Loyola Ramblers for a Saturday after noon tilt at the Ford Center.

Evansville has lost 4 of 5 and haven’t won back to back games in forever it seems. They have had a see-saw season and haven’t been able to put any consistent together. Last game at Illinois State, they lost by 1 in overtime, but shot light out from 3-point land (15-30) to keep them in the game. They lack a strong inside game and pretty much rely on big man Egidiju Mockevicius (Jr) to enforce the lane. He snagged 18 rebounds against the Birds, but other than one other guy, there were only 6 rebounds gathered by the rest of the Aces. Evansville’s roster is composed of mostly underclassmen who are adjusting the college game, so this they are kind of in rebuilding mode. On a positive note, the Aces shoot pretty well (47%) from the floor. They have been more competitive of late after losing their first 3 Valley contests by an average of 25 points, then won at Southern Illinois before the last OT loss at ISU. Sophomore star DJ Balentine has been the leading scorer in nearly every game as he enters this game at 22 ppg.

Evansville Purple Aces vs. Loyola of Chicago Ramblers - 1/18/14

Pat Lovell-USA TODAY Sports

Loyola comes in with a league record of 2-3 and they have been a pleasant surprise in their inaugural season in the Valley. Their problem has been on the road and are winless in 7 games. They have not been blown out, but just haven’t been able to play with the same consistency as at home. Milton Doyle led the Ramblers with 28 points in their win against Drake on Wednesday. As a freshman, he leads the team in scoring at around 15 points per game. They shoot very well as a team at almost 50% from the field with 35% from 3-point distance and 71% from the stripe. Porter Moser has coached and played in the Missouri Valley Conference before so he is no stranger to what it takes to win games. They may not find themselves with a .500 record in the league, but they have held their own and continue to take care of business at home.

Unfortunately the Ramblers are on the road again, but I think they might have a shot here. At the very least, they have been a good first half team, but have sputtered in some games in the 2nd half. I think Evansville will eek one out. I would take a peek at the line for halftime and if the Ramblers get 3 point, I’d take it. These teams are pretty evenly matched and shoot pretty well from the floor, but they surrender a lot points too. But I don’t know if that will equate to a high scoring game as both teams know they must try to limit the opportunities.

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