Loyola-Chicago In a Fierce Tussle With Tennessee

Doug Upstone

Friday, March 16, 2018 4:40 PM UTC

Friday, Mar. 16, 2018 4:40 PM UTC

In the lid-lifter in Dallas Saturday at 6:10 pm local time, No.3 Tennessee will attempt to eliminate another Midwestern conference champion in No. 11 Loyola-Chicago, whose already made an impression.

(3) Tennessee vs. (11) Loyola-ChicagoFree NCAAB Pick: Loyola-ChicagoBest Line Offered: Intertops

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nessee dismantled Wright State with ruthless precision as 11.5-point favorites, winning by 26. Loyola-Chicago stayed in constant contact with Miami-Fl, never making the big shot until Donte Ingram lofted a perfect three-ball shot from way downtown (Marv Albert reference) with 0.3 seconds left, setting up the Ramblers to advance.


The South Region had a pair of double-digit seeds advance, but oddsmakers don't think Loyola can make it the Sweet 16, with the odds having them as 6.5 point underdogs to the Vols on TNT.

Tennessee Just Needs to Play Their Game

If you watched the Vols (26-8, 19-13 ATS) Thursday afternoon, they played with zero emotion and just went about their business and took away everything Wright State wanted to do while running their offense how they wanted. It was impressive.

For Tennessee, they will have to compete with a team not oozing NBA ability, but one that totally believes they deserve to be in this situation and quite possibly beyond. What Rick Barnes club has to do is make this about executing in the half-court where they can throw around their muscle. Also, the Vols have more experience than Miami, which will help them against a veteran crew like the Ramblers.

Though Loyola converts on 50.6 percent from the field, only one foe has shot over 44 percent against Tennesse in their past 10 outings and that was Kentucky in the SEC title game when Barnes guys were playing three games in three days.

For Loyola It's About Poise, Making Shots and Perseverance

One of the most popular college basketball picks on Thursday by Joe's and Pro's was Loyola-Chicago (29-5, 20-9 ATS) to win outright against the Hurricanes. The Ramblers fit the precise profile of a - Giant Killer - as they shoot the ball efficiently, make a high percentage behind the arc and play excellent defense (41.3% allowed and 62.2 PPG).

The most admirable aspect of their win over Miami was never giving up. Time after time they came down on offense with a chance to tie or take the lead in the last 10 minutes and failed. But they never dropped their heads and instead played tough defense and found a way, which should serve them well in this matchup also.

For coach Porter Moser's club, their key is making Tennessee defense play the entire shot clock, with PG Clayton Custer initiating and guiding the motion actions Loyola runs. On defense, the Ramblers mission is pressure the Volunteers guards so that Barnes offense has to start further out on preferred spots.

Playing a Hunch With Loyola

This is a game the stronger and more physical Tennessee squad should win and cover. Yet two factors can keep Loyola-Chicago in this contest. One, a team shooting 72 percent from the free throw line is not going to go 4 of 9 again like they just did. Second, the Ramblers defense has a knack for slapping the ball away and if they can create a +5 turnover margin, which they are capable of, they make this a three-point outcome.

Check out SBR’s college basketball odds page for updated lines. Also, head over to the March Madness Betting Headquarters for vital handicapping information, picks, and a list of the best sports books and live betting options for the tournament season.

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