The home of the Dallas Mavericks is the American Airlines Center in Dallas – and that will be the venue on Thursday when the Loyola Ramblers take on the Miami Hurricanes. The winner of this game will take on the winner of Tennessee or Wright State as part of the South Region. Loyola is the 11 seed in the South Region. They are also the winner of the Missouri Valley Conference and come into the tournament with a 28-5 record on the season.
The Miami Hurricanes are 22-9 on the season. The Hurricanes finished third in the Atlantic Coast Conference regular season. Miami led early, but then lost in the conference tournament to North Carolina by 17. The Miami Hurricanes are the favorites in this game. You can bet Miami at -2 over Loyola on Thursday.
The top scorer this season for Miami has been Lonnie Walker IV. He is scoring just 11.5 points per game. Ja’Quan Newton is adding 9 per game, and nearly 3 assists per game. The Hurricanes are playing in the NCAA Tournament for the 10th time, and are seeking their 9th win in the Big Dance.
The Miami Hurricanes are the bigger school, but they know they have to bring their top game to win this game. The Hurricanes had a four game winning streak before the conference tournament loss to the Tar Heels. The Hurricanes on the season are scoring 74.2 points per game, and allowing teams to score 68 per game.
Ramblers Are the Underdogs
Loyola is led by their guard Clayton Custer. Custer scored 13.4 points per game, and dished out 4.2 assists per game. Porter Moser has done a great job as the head coach of the Ramblers, but the biggest key is their defense. The Ramblers are allowing teams to score just 62.2 per game, which is the 5th best in the country.
The Loyola Ramblers actually have a national title under their belt. The Ramblers won the title back in 1963. This is the first time since 1985 that Loyola is dancing. In their tournament history, Loyola is 9-4. This season, the Ramblers lost just five games all season. The biggest win of the season for Loyola came on the road at the Florida Gators. Loyola ran through the Missouri Valley Conference tournament with a win over Illinois State in the title game.
Hurricanes Take Down Loyola
This is going to be a heck of a game. This has the potential to be the best first round game of the weekend. Loyola is going to battle off all game. Loyola already beat Florida, and they are not scared of the Hurricanes. But, in the end, the better talent sits with Miami. The Hurricanes are going to win this game. Bet the Miami Hurricanes -2 over the Loyola Ramblers on Thursday.
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