CBI best-of-3 championship series begins tonight as Louisiana-Monroe visits Loyola. It’s the first time these two schools are meeting on the NCAA hardwood & Loyola is favored by six on the odds board.
The Louisiana-Monroe Warhawks Can Win Because…
Their defense is going to carry them once again. Although ULM didn’t make it far enough through the Sun Belt conference tournament to earn a spot in March Madness, they do deserve plenty of credit for their defense. They are just one of three schools so far this season that hasn’t allowed 75 points in a single game, which is why they enter tonight's game as NCAA basketball odds home favorite. The only two others are Baylor and Saint Peter’s. They are holding opponents to just 60.3 points per game and 38.1% from the field. If they can play like that again tonight, they are likely to come away with the win.
The Ramblers don’t do a whole lot on offense, averaging just 62.7 points per game, so it’s not likely that they’ll be the first Warhawks’ opponent to get to 75. Even though it looks like they have a little more balance than ULM, they are also a plodding team offensively that goes through some ugly spurts. That being the case, go with the better defense in this one.
The Loyola-Chicago Ramblers Can Win Because…
They’re at home and that could be a big difference. They’ve won four straight in their own confines and five of their last six there overall. They have a balanced scoring offense, which is nothing something that ULM can claim to have too. The Ramblers leading scorer is Milton Doyle, who contributes 11.5 points per game. They have Christian Thomas at 11.2 points per game, Montel James at 9.3, Earl Peterson 8.4 and Devon Turk 8.3. The latter two each had 15 points in the team’s latest win against Seattle, so it shows that their offense has some balance.
Meanwhile, ULM is built around two guys mostly: Tyler Ongwae and Majok Deng. Ongwae leads the team with 14.5 points per game While Deng is at 10.6. No one else is in double figures. That’s why ULM’s offense has been inconsistent this season, scoring just 64.8 points per contest.
With home-court advantage on their side, expect the Ramblers shooting to function a little bit better than ULM’s. That might be the deciding factor in this one.
The Warhawks have been a great story this year as they’ve had a monumental turnaround. They have 14 more wins year over year, which is the second best turnaround in the country. The main reason for this rebound has been their defense and it’s safe to assume it shows up again on Monday.
Although the Ramblers have home-court advantage and they probably win this game outright as a result of it, the under looks like the best play for your NCAA Basketbal picks. Both teams are fairly similar images of themselves: they play solid defense, they have trouble at the offensive end at times and they tend to win ugly contests. The under is 4-1 in ULM’s last five against teams that score 64 points or less and the under is 12-3 in Loyola-Chicago’s last 15 against good defensive that allow 64 points per game or less. Take the under.
NCAA Basketball Pick: Under 131 at The Greek