NCAA Basketball Picks: Loyola vs. LA Monroe -2

Joe Gavazzi

Thursday, April 2, 2015 4:10 PM UTC

Thursday, Apr. 2, 2015 4:10 PM UTC

Loyola visits LA Monroe Tonight and our expert capper explores this matchup while giving you his NCAA Basketball pick at no cost.

LOY Chicago vs. LA Monroe  8:00 ET CBC TV
The LOY Chicago Ramblers travel to Monroe, Louisiana and the Fant-Hewing Coliseum to meet the Warhawks in Game 2 of the CBI Finals. The game will be televised at 8 pm ET by CBC TV.  The first game of this best of 3 finals resulted in a 65-58 LOY Chicago home court victory, in which they covered the number as 6 point home chalk on the college basketball odds.  In the first game Monday night, LOY Chicago outshot LA Monroe 51% to 38%.  Major issue for the Warhawks in that regard was the 3 for 19 shooting night by leading scorer, Tylor Ongwae, including 0 for 6 from behind the arc. 

In Monday’s analysis, I noted the vast improvement of LOY under 4th year HC Porter Moser, a Rick Majerus disciple.  Using strong principles of defense and fundamentals, the Ramblers have gone from 7 wins in Moser’s first season to a 23-13 SU, 21-11 ATS record this year. Along the way, they have gone a solid 10-7 SU away from the Gentile Center home, as well as 13-4 ATS. Those numbers must certainly be respected when considering the pointspread outcome of this game.  Of equal importance is the strength of schedule differential of each of these teams.  While LOY was toiling in the rugged Missouri Valley Conference, playing the 130th most difficult schedule, LA Monroe played in the less prestigious Sun Belt with a strength of schedule of 220.

Much like the LOY revival, there has been a similar renaissance for the Warhawks under 5th year HC Keith Richards.  The program was in shambles five years ago with academic probation, limited talent and poor attitude.  As Richards rebuilt the program, there were just 24 victories combined in the previous 4 years. This year, however, it has all come together, keyed by a strong defense that has had them on our list of Defensive Dandies the entire season.  Along with strong defensive numbers of 60/38/29, there are positives in rebound margin, assist/TO ratio and TO margin.  The result has been a 24-13 SU mark and 20-12 ATS record.  Also characterizing the turnaround has been the Warhawks’ success at Fant-Hewing.  In the previous 3 seasons, LA Monroe was 9-28 SU at home. This year, they were a combined 14-3 SU for the season at home.

Motivated by series elimination, following their Monday defeat, expect a far better shooting night from leading scorer, Ongwae combined with raucous fan support. I expect the Warhawks to extend this series to a 3rd game on this floor on Friday night, so add them to your NCAA basketball picks.

NCAA Basketball Pick: LA Monroe 

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