Porter Moser may be gone, but Loyola Chicago is back in the Field of 68.
Drew Valentine didn’t miss a beat coaching the ‘22 Ramblers, as Loyola stumbled a bit in early-season play but stormed through the conference tournament.
Meanwhile, Chris Holtmann had another solid season with Ohio State. The Buckeyes can score in bunches, especially when EJ Liddell is playing so well.
But the Buckeyes haven’t made it past the second round of the tournament since Holtmann took the Helm in Columbus. Will this year be different?
Ohio State vs. Loyola Chicago Odds
Ohio State vs. Loyola Chicago odds are provided by Caesars and current as of 1 p.m. ET on Tuesday, March 15.
- Moneyline: Ohio State (-110), Loyola Chicago (-110)
- ATS: Ohio State PK (-110), Loyola Chicago PK (-110)
- Over/Under: Over 132.5 (-110) / Under 132.5 (-110)
- Implied Score: Ohio State 66.25, Loyola Chicago 66.25
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Ohio State vs. Loyola Chicago Prediction
This is going to be a shootout. Loyola’s offense was reinvigorated this season, shooting the lights out from three and scoring 1.071 PPP, which was top-15 nationally.
Meanwhile, all Ohio State does is shoot the ball well. Malaki Branham has been excellent in the second half of the season, replacing a large part of Duane Washington’s lost performance. Branham earned Big Ten Freshman of the Year for his efforts, too.
Of course, everything still runs through Liddell, who will likely earn All-Big Ten honors for his play, as he averaged 19.6 PPG and 7.6 RPG.
Liddell and the Ohio State front line are also talented defensively, but the perimeter defense is the Buckeyes’ real problem. Ohio State got shredded by ball-screens, cutters, and downhill drives from guards and wings.
While Loyola’s defensive metrics have dropped significantly from last season, Valentine has rallied the troops for the post-season. The Ramblers allowed just 50, 43, and 58 points in its three conference tournament games on their way to an MVC Tournament title.
As such, I’m predicting a convincing win for the Ramblers here.
Ohio State vs. Loyola Chicago Score Pick
Loyola Chicago 81, Ohio State 75
I think it will be a high-scoring game, and I wouldn’t be surprised if both teams crack 80. Both offenses are scary efficient, and both defenses are less efficient.
- Print your 2022 March Madness bracket.
Yes, Loyola’s defense has looked dominant lately, but the Ramblers could be due for a defensive letdown following a dominant string of performances in the weaker Missouri Valley.
Ohio State vs. Loyola Chicago Best Bets
Loyola Chicago Moneyline (-110) at Caesars
Wager: 1 Unit
For the reasons stated above, I’m obviously betting Loyola in this game. I think we’ll get a huge game from Lucas Williamson, who could have a huge night running the pick-and-roll or getting spot-up 3-point opportunities when Braden Norris is running it.
Loyola’s defense has some glaring holes that Ohio State will capitalize on. The Ramblers don’t have Krutwig down low to protect the rim and play post-up defense.
But the Rambler defense is still rebounding, and they’re well-coached and communicate well.
OVER 132.5 Total Points (-110) at Caesars
Wager: 1 Unit
There’s no way the Buckeyes don’t score efficiently. It will be a huge step up in talent from the last few games for the Ramblers. But both teams will shoot plenty of 3s and make plenty of 3s, too.
These two combined to go 34-24 to the Over this season, and the past three straight games have gone over for the Buckeyes.
I’m ready to back that trend one more time.