Sweet 16: Get To Know Loyola-Chicago
Who are the Ramblers?
Sweet 16 throw down.
Did you know the Sweet 16 is on Thursday?!?!
That means it is time to cram to get to know Nevada’s opponent: Loyola-Chicago. To get the scoop we reached out to Harry Schroeder of Mid-Major Madness and he covers the Missouri Valley for them, so he knows that is going on with that team which very well could be playing for a Final Four berth on Saturday night.
1. For those who are under a rock, what is your cliff notes version of this Loyola team?
Loyola is a well oiled machine, of unselfish players. No one cares who scores or who receives the praise. They are 30-5 because they are disciplined and relentless in doing what they do. Despite not being overly athletic, they play outstanding defense and they are one of the best shooting teams in the nation. Why are they so good offensively? Because they share the ball. They led the Missouri Valley in scoring, scoring defense, assists, etc. They are a TEAM and they never quit.
2. Sister Jean is a superstar this tournament. Could you give us a bit of info or fun facts about her fandom?
Sister Jean has done what everyone is learning about during this historic run, for years. When Porter Moser got the job, one of the first messages he received was from Sister Jean. She gave him a detailed scouting report on all the holdover players and how they could be best utilized.
3. Why do you think Loyola was overlooked heading into the tournament, does it have anything to do with Wichita State no longer in the MVC?
They were picked to finish third in the Valley! No one knew how good Krutwig would be in the middle and they had heard of Townes, but hadn’t really seen his game. Those two really elevated the rest of the group.
4. What can this team to do wear down Nevada which uses a very short bench with just six players?
Loyola isn’t really a running team, but they are a constant motion on offense. They will lob it into to the post on occasion, but they are passing, cutting, backdoor cutting, setting picks, etc. The Wolf Pack will not have an easy defensive set. On defense, the Ramblers rarely give up and easy possession so the Pack will have to work extremely hard on that end too.
5. This offensive team has a nice scoring balance with five players who score in double figures per game, so who is the key offensive player that Nevada must focus on. Or is this a team that can have any one of those five players go off on any given game?
The key is making Custer uncomfortable. No Ramblers care who scores, but if Custer is out of sync it does disrupt the offensive flow. I think Nevada will attempt to get physical with Custer and make Ben Richardson work hard. His ankle isn’t as healthy and some hope.
6. Why will Loyola win?
They will win because they will be patient and never leave behind their game plan. They will defend like their life depends on it, they will make the extra pass, make the extra pass and then make the extra pass. They are one of the best shooting and outside shooting teams in the country and that translates. Nevada is a jump out, try to steal the ball and block the shot kind of defensive team that Loyola can shred with the extra pass and the head fake and shoot.While shorter than the Wolf Pack, they have a true center in Krutwig and play 8 guys a lot of minutes. They will be fresher and there is no drop off when they substitute.