Loyola-Chicago Ramblers (32-5) at Michigan Wolverines (32-7)
|Date & Time||Saturday March 31, 2018, 6:09 PM (EDT)|
The Line: Michigan Wolverines -5.5 -- Over/Under: 126.5
The Loyola-Chicago Ramblers and Michigan Wolverines will square off this upcoming Saturday night at the Alamodome in the Final Four of the NCAA Tournament.
The 11-seed Loyola-Chicago Ramblers continued their magical run and advanced to the NCAA Final Four with an impressive 78-92 victory over the 9-seed Kansas State Wildcats this past Saturday. Loyola-Chicago dominated Kansas State on both ends of the court in the victory and had no trouble securing the win after a 7-0 Ramblers run gave Loyola-Chicago a 61-38 lead with 9:40 left in regulation. Loyola-Chicago shot 57.4% from the field and 50.0% (9-18) from beyond the are while holding Kansas State to just 34.8% shooting from the field. Leading the way for the Ramblers was Ben Richardson who had 23 points, 6 rebounds, and 4 assists. On the season, Loyola-Chicago is averaging 72.0 ppg on 50.9% shooting from the field. The Ramblers are averaging 7.5 three-pointers per game on 40.0 shooting from beyond the arc. Offensively, Loyola-Chicago has been led by Clayton Custer (13.2 ppg, 2.2 rpg, 4.2 apg, 1.5 spg), Donte Ingram (11.3 ppg, 6.3 rpg, 1.5 apg), Marques Townes (11.2 ppg, 3.9 rpg, 2.5 apg), and Cameron Krutwig (10.3 ppg, 6.1 rpg, 1.8 apg). Defensively, Loyola-Chicago is holding their opponents to an average of 62.4 ppg on 41.4% shooting from the field. The Ramblers have a rebound margin of 1.8 and a turnover margin of 0.5.
The 3-seed Michigan Wolverines returned to their first final four since 2013 after defeating the 9-seed Florida State Seminoles, 58-54, this past Saturday night. Michigan used a 9-0 run to start the 2nd half to create some separation from the Seminoles and held off a late Florida State charge after taking a 54-44 lead with just 2:26 left in regulation. Michigan shot just 38.8% from the field however, did hold Florida State to just 31.4% shooting from the field and 23.5% (4-17) shooting from beyond the arc. Leading the way for the Wolverines was Charles Matthews who had 17 points, 8 rebounds, 2 blocks, and a steal. On the season, Michigan is averaging 74.1 ppg on 47.0% shooting from the field. The Wolverines are averaging 9.0 three-pointers per game on 36.6% shooting from beyond the arc. Offensively, Michigan has been led by Moritz Wagner (14.3 ppg, 6.9 rpg, 0.9 spg), Charles Matthews (13.0 ppg, 5.6 rpg, 2.5 apg), Muhammad-Ali Abdur-Rahkman (12.8 ppg, 3.9 rpg, 3.3 apg), and Zavier Simpson (7.5 ppg, 3.3 rpg, 3.7 apg, 1.3 spg). Defensively, Michigan is holding their opponents to an average of 63.1 ppg on 42.4% shooting from the field. The Wolverines have a rebound margin of 0.5 and a turnover margin of 3.6.
The Ramblers are 4-0 ATS in thier last 4 non-conference games and 19-6-1 ATS in thier last 26 games vs. a team with a winning % above .600. The Wolverines are 5-1-1 ATS in thier last 7 games following a striaght up win and 3-1-2 ATS in thier last 6 NCAA Tournament games.
Loyola-Chicago has been successful this season as they are dangerous on both sides of the ball as the Ramblers have a well-balanced offense with multiple weapons and a suffocating defense that has given opponents this NCAA Tournament a ton of trouble. Coming into this matchup, the Ramblers rank 3rd in FG%, T-17th in 3P-FG%, 5th in scoring defense, and 43rd in defensive FG%. Michigan has looked like one of the best teams in the country since their run to win the Big-10 Championship and has been led by their defense which ranks 8th in scoring defense and is giving up just an average of 59.0 ppg in the NCAA Tournament. There is no doubting the Loyola-Chicago deserves to be in this game, however, I think the Ramblers are going to have a bit of trouble on the offensive end against the Wolverines in this one and as I think John Beilein will have a solid game plan with a week of preparation for the Michigan offense, I’m taking Michigan to cover this spread.