Oregon State vs. Loyola Chicago Sweet 16 Odds, Pick, Preview: Betting Value on Beavers In NCAA Tournament
Brett Wilhelm/NCAA Photos via Getty Images. Pictured: Porter Moser (center).
Oregon State vs. Loyola Chicago Odds
The Ramblers are at it again.
No. 8 seed Loyola Chicago knocked out one of this year's NCAA Tournament favorites when it earned an impressive 71-58 win over No. 1-seed Illinois. The Ramblers never trailed in a game that they dominated from start to finish.
No. 12 seed Oregon State continued its incredible late-season surge with a shocking 80-70 win over potential No. 1 NBA Draft pick Cade Cunningham and No. 4 seed Oklahoma State.
In a battle between two surprising but talented teams, which Cinderella should bettors back?
Oregon State Beavers
The Beavers cruised past Tennessee and Oklahoma State teams with incredible efficiency and balance.
Head coach Wayne Tinkle’s team has found success through three areas: a slow pace of play, 3-point defensive efficiency and a vastly-improved offense.
Oregon State plays at one of the slowest paces in college basketball, ranking 303rd in adjusted tempo, per KenPom. The Beavers were the second-slowest team in the Pac-12 but balanced that pace of play with stifling perimeter defense.
Tinkle mixes up defenses, and his players have responded with remarkable flexibility. They have no trouble transitioning from man-to-man to an aggressive zone defense that allows fewer 3-point attempts than you would expect.
Oregon State has size on the interior with 6-foot-7 Nicholls State transfer Warith Alatishe, 7-foot-1 center Roman Silva and 6-foot-10 Maurice Calloo.
That’s balanced with a great senior leader in guard Ethan Thompson, who leads the team with 15.6 points per game, and sophomore Jarod Lucas (13 points per game). Lucas has scored double-digits in 12 of the last 13 games and is one of the best free-throw shooters in the country at 89.6%
The Beavers are tall across the board, ranking 23rd in the country in average height. The size of their guards on the perimeter is particularly problematic for opposing perimeter players. I have doubts on how effective Loyola Chicago will be from beyond the arc. The Beavers will also continue to make life difficult for Krutwig with Silva, Calloo, and Alatishe patrolling the paint.
Both teams have been very strong against the spread. Loyola Chicago is 18-9-1 overall against the spread (ATS), covering its last five games. Oregon State is even more impressive, carrying a record of 21-9-1 and covering an incredible 11 of its past 12 games.
Loyola Chicago Ramblers
The centerpiece of the Loyola offense is 6-foot-9, 255-pound center Cameron Krutwig. The senior was the Missouri Valley Player of the Year and averaged 15 points, 6.9 rebounds and 1.1 blocks while shooting 57.6% from the field. Krutwig has scored double-digit points in 13 of the Ramblers’ last 14 games and fouled out of just one game this season.
Head coach Porter Moser’s offense has been operating as a strong unit throughout the season. The Ramblers are shooting 57.7% from inside the arc and 36% from 3-point range. Guards Lucas Williamson (36.7% 3-point shooting), Keith Clemons (46.4%) and Braden Norris (41.1%) serve as the foundation to balance Krutwig’s interior presence.
Loyola's superb defense makes it difficult for opponents to find consistent scoring. The Ramblers allow their opponents to shoot just 46.5% on 2-point shots and 32.4% from beyond the arc.
The Ramblers are also strong on the boards, ranking second in the country in defensive rebounding efficiency with five players averaging 3.3 rebounds or more per game.
Betting Analysis & Pick
I project this to be a low-scoring defensive battle, with neither team being able to jump to a sizable lead. Loyola Chicago was incredibly impressive against Illinois, but Oregon State's run is not being given enough respect.
In a game between two evenly matched teams with a 125-point game total, I'll take the seven points with the underdog Beavers.
Pick: Oregon State +7 (down to +6.5)