At 6:09 PM ET, Saturday, March 31st, 2018, the #3 seed Michigan Wolverines will face off against the #11 seed Loyola-Chicago Ramblers in the “Alamo City”. The 2018 March Madness Cinderella team of the tournament, Loyola-Chicago, is a 5.5 point underdog to the highly touted Wolverines.
With both teams being defense oriented, an over/under of 129 points will likely not be eclipsed by much, if at all. On their way to becoming only the fourth team in NCAA history to make the Final Four as an 11 seed, Loyola has held their opponents to 63.5 points per game and won three of their four games by two points or less. Michigan is -5 in this game over Loyola.
Loyola Ramblers Flying High
The Ramblers have displayed intense focus and max effort on both ends of the course, possession after possession. Their ability to keep it close and hit big shots down the stretch has not only won them a Final Four bid, but made them the Darlings of the NCAA tournament.
Donte Ingram’s three at the buzzer, Clayton Custer’s clutch shot (say that three times fast), and Marques Townes’ late game dagger all embody this teams unselfish approach on the offensive end. All five starters can score but no one on this team is above giving it up for an open shot. Make no mistake about it; this is a very good basketball team.
Big Ten’s Michigan Wolverines
The 2018 Michigan Wolverines will be the toughest challenge Loyola has faced. Their style of play is similar to Loyola-Chicago, but Michigan’s high powered, talent laden program contrasts starkly with Loyola’s.
The Wolverines are good at forcing turnovers and capitalizing on it, as they proved by leading the Big Ten in scoring defense in 2018. Yet, this team’s talent and focus allows them to win games in a multitude of ways, as evidenced by their offensive explosion in a 99-72 victory over Texas A&M.
Coming off a huge offensive performance, Michigan forced themselves into a defensive battle-royale with the big men of Florida State by shooting only 39 percent. On a night when the shots wouldn’t fall, the Wolverines relied on their defensive prowess by forcing 15 turnovers and punched their ticket to the Final Four with a 58-54 win.
What a Game in San Antonio
Unfortunately for Loyola, what makes them special as a basketball team is at the core of a very talented Michigan Wolverine team. Loyola has held tournament opponents to 63.5 points per game; Michigan has only allowed 59 points per game. Ingram’s buzzer beater felt like the shot of the tournament, and then Jordan Poole hit the shot of the tournament.
According to CBS, the Westgate Las Vegas Superbook gives the Wolverines 5/2 odds of becoming the tournament champ while the Ramblers’ odds are 12/1. If Loyola and Michigan are some version of basketball twins, it is not hard to see which one many consider the Danny DeVito of the two.
The odds makers are right, the Michigan Wolverines should win this basketball game by more than a shot, but the Loyola-Chicago Ramblers have defied the odds by even making the Final Four. While Saturday night might be the last dance for Sister Jean and the Chi-town’s Cinderella team in the 2018 NCAA tournament, it is hard to believe Loyola will go quietly into the night. We are betting Michigan 66 Loyola 63
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