Wednesday College Basketball Odds & Picks: Upset Alert for Michigan State vs. Loyola Chicago? (Nov. 24)
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Michigan State vs. Loyola Chicago Odds
|Michigan State Odds|
-108o / -112u
|Loyola Chicago Odds|
-108o / -112u
In the opening round of the Battle 4 Atlantis, Michigan State will take on the Loyola Chicago Ramblers in one of the most interesting matchups of the week.
Loyola ended its 2020-2021 season in the Sweet 16, while MSU lost in the opening round.
With Porter Moser leaving to coach Oklahoma, the Ramblers still maintain the majority of their players, except star center Cameron Krutwig, from last season.
MSU has seen a lot of roster turnover since last season. Thus far, the Spartans look solid but they did lose their opening game of the season against Kansas easily. Their most distinguished win of this young season was Butler, as they won convincingly.
This game should look like a defensive battle at a neutral location, so Loyola may come away with an edge in a slower-paced game.
Loyola does not have the presence in the key it had last year in Krutwig, but I think his loss is somewhat overstated on the defensive end. Adding Ryan Schwieger from Princeton and Chris Knight has helped, depth-wise.
The Ramblers are playing a rather small lineup at all times, so Marcus Bingham Jr. and Joey Hauser provide a mismatch.
Loyola still had a top-five defense last season, so that aspect of the game should spill over to this year. Returning Lucas Williamson and Marquise Kennedy provides a boost on the defensive end, as they are averaging 1.5 steals per game apiece.
As long as they can contain MSU’s bigs in the block, which they have done so far against other opponents, they should fare well.
Next, Loyola has been automatic from downtown. Obviously with the strength of the roster being at the guard position, this infers outside shooting success, but they are shooting a robust 45.2% this season.
Yes, the competition was lesser than MSU, but the Spartans have allowed opponents to shoot 36.8% from beyond the arc. This will allow shooters, like Aher Uguak, Tate Hall and Schwieger, flexibility from behind the arc.
The Ramblers are efficient scoring the ball. They have an effective field goal percentage of 63.4%, per KenPom. Against a top-five defense, like MSU, this will provide a boost.
They are careful with the ball, as well, only turning it over on 14.1% of their possessions. Braden Norris is a calculated, and now mature, captain of the offense and can burn by Tyson Walker.
The Spartans are a strong team, but right now, the Big Ten is feeling the pressure of being a tad overrated. Outside of Purdue, the more prominent teams — like Michigan and Illinois — have looked a bit lost to start this season.
Now, MSU is not necessarily on equal footing with Michigan and Illinois, but Loyola could cause them some issues. Michigan State turns over the ball 20.4% of the time.
The advantage the Spartans have is size. The tallest member who logs at least 18 minutes per game on Loyola is 6-foot-7 Uguak or Knight. Loyola’s issues last year resided on the offensive glass, so losing Krutwig definitely hinders that part of the game further.
Also, the Ramblers’ best early-season test case has been Kevin Samuel of Florida Gulf Coast. The Ramblers limited him to five rebounds. If they can do the same with either Hauser or Bingham, they remove one of MSU’s most prominent edges.
The Spartans are a deep team. They have seven players averaging at least 20 minutes per game, so they will have fresh legs at all times. Their strength is in their forwards, though, so if Loyola can manage to draw to early fouls, MSU loses yet another advantage.
Loyola Chicago vs. Michigan State Betting Pick
The Loyola Ramblers have been an underrated team for a while now. They still have a cohesive unit — rolled over from last year’s Sweet 16 run — and MSU has players cycling in-and-out of their starting lineup.
Loyola should nullify Michigan State’s rebounding and size advantage. The Ramblers will make the most out of each possession and could cause some turnovers for the Spartans.
Take the Ramblers at +2 and play it to a pick ‘em.