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Loyola-Chicago vs. Valparaiso - 2/14/18 College Basketball Pick, Odds, and Prediction

Valparaiso Crusaders (13-14) at Loyola-Chicago Ramblers (21-5)

College Basketball: Wednesday, February 14, 2018 at 8:00 pm (Joseph J. Gentile Center)

The Line: Loyola-Chicago Ramblers -11 -- Over/Under: 136 See the Latest Odds

TV: ESPN 3

The Valparaiso Crusaders will travel to the Joseph J. Gentile Center to take on the Loyola-Chicago Ramblers this Wednesday night in College Basketball action.

The Valparaiso Crusaders snapped a 2-game losing streak and improved to 13-14 (4-10 MVC) on the season after defeating the Illinois State Redbirds, 74-58, this past Sunday. Valparaiso led by just a 37-35 margin at halftime, however, was outstanding defensively against Illinois State in the 2nd half and pulled away for the victory after taking a 67-51 lead with 3:29 left in regulation. Valparaiso held Illinois State to 37.9% shooting from the field and 26.7% (8-30) from beyond the arc in the win. Leading the way for the Crusaders was Bakari Evelyn who had 22 points, 1 rebound, 3 assists, and a steal. On the season, Valparaiso is averaging 70.1 ppg on 44.5% shooting from the field. The Crusaders are averaging 6.7 three-pointers per game on 33.1% shooting from beyond the arc. Offensively, Valparaiso has been led by Tevonn Walker (14.7 ppg, 4.8 rpg, 1.7 apg, 1.9 spg), Bakari Evelyn (12.6 ppg, 3.0 rpg, 3.0 apg, 1.4 spg), Markus Golder (8.8 ppg, 4.1 rpg, 1.3 apg), and Max Joseph (7.4 ppg, 4.3 rpg, 2.0 apg, 1.6 spg). Defensively, Valparaiso is holding their opponents to an average of 67.5 ppg on 41.7% shooting from the field. The Crusaders have a rebound margin of 1.1 and are averaging 7.9 steals per game.

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Loyola-Chicago vs. Valparaiso - 2/14/18 College Basketball Pick, Odds, and Prediction

USA TODAY Sports

The Loyola-Chicago Ramblers won their 3rd consecutive game and improved to 21-5 (11-3 MVC) on the season after defeating the Indiana State Sycamores, 75-71, this past Saturday. Loyola-Chicago trailed by a 36-31 margin at halftime, however, was able to quickly fight back into the game in the 2nd half and pulled late after taking a 74-69 lead with just 0:27 seconds left in regulation. Loyola-Chicago shot 53.3% from the field and 45.0% (9-20) from beyond the arc. Leading the way for the Ramblers was Donte Ingram who had 17 points, 6 rebounds, 1 assist, and 2 steals. On the season, Loyola-Chicago is averaging 73.5 ppg on 51.3% shooting from the field. The Ramblers are averaging 7.5 three-pointers per game on 41.5% shooting from beyond the arc. Offensively, Loyola-Chicago has been led by Clayton Custer (14.3 ppg, 2.1 rpg, 4.0 apg, 1.6 spg), Donte Ingram (11.3 ppg, 6.5 rpg, 1.5 apg, 1.0 spg), Marques Townes (11.3 ppg, 4.2 rpg, 2.5 apg), and Aundre Jackson (11.3 ppg, 3.2 rpg, 1.2 apg). Defensively, Loyola-Chicago is holding their opponents to an average of 63.3 ppg on 41.5% shooting from the field. The Ramblers have a rebound margin of 2.0 and a turnover margin of 0.4.

The Crusaders are 1-3-1 ATS in their last 5 games vs. a team with a winning straight up record and just 1-6-1 ATS in their last 8 road games. The Ramblers are 5-0 ATS in their last 5 home games and 10-1 ATS in their last 11 games vs. MVC opponents.

Valparaiso has lost 7 of their last 9 games and although they have an above average defense that ranks 61st in scoring defense, the Crusaders have had issues scoring the basketball for most of the season as they come into this game ranked just 269th in scoring offense and 195th in FG%. Loyola-Chicago has won 10 of their last 11 games and has been great on both sides of the ball as the Ramblers rank 10th in scoring defense, 4th in FG%, and 7th in 3P FG%. Loyola-Chicago is the team to beat in the MVC this season as the Crusaders have yet to win a road conference game this season, I expect the Ramblers to easily take care of business in this one and cover this double-digit spread. 

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