Southern Illinois vs #21 Loyola Chicago Road to March Madness

Southern Illinois vs #21 Loyola Chicago Road to March Madness | 2021 NCAA Basketball Expert Analysis

Written by on February 25, 2021

College basketball’s regular season is winding down and there’s just one ranked team in action on Friday: No. 21 Loyola Chicago of the Missouri Valley. The Ramblers of course made a memorable Final Four run not all that long ago and could be good enough to do it again. They are +5000 on the NCAAB odds to win it all and will be heavy favorites in MVC action Friday vs. Southern Illinois.

How to Bet Southern Illinois at Loyola Chicago NCAA Basketball Odds & TV Info

  • When: Friday, 9 PM ET
  • Where: Joseph J. Gentile Arena
  • TV: CBS Sports Network
  • Stream: CBS Sports app
  • Radio: Tunein.com
  • Opening NCAAB Lines: TBA (Loyola will be heavy favorite)

Last Meeting

It’s the first meeting of the season between the teams – they play again at Loyola on Saturday and that’s it for the regular season for the schools. Last year, the schools split. The one in Chicago was a 64-48 Loyola victory.

Why Bet on Southern Illinois? | 2021 NCAA Basketball Expert Analysis

Southern Illinois (11-11, 5-11 MVC) snapped a two-game skid Monday with a 67-64 home win over Valparaiso. SIU stretched its lead back out to double figures and owned an 11-point edge with three minutes to play. The Salukis struggled to hit late free throws, though, while Sheldon Edwards trimmed the deficit to six with a 3 at the 1:14 mark, then a second-chance triple by Eron Gordon made it 61-57 with 41 seconds to go.

Trent Brown made two free throws with eight seconds left to give Southern Illinois a six-point lead before Sigurd Lorange capped it at the other end with a 3-pointer. Valpo scored 13 points in the final 1:14 of the contest but still couldn’t quite catch up.

The Salukis shot 53.2% from the field and dished 15 assists. Lance Jones scored a game-high 21 points to lead five Salukis in double-figures; Steven Verplancken Jr. (12), Kyler Filewich (11), Dalton Banks (10), and Ben Harvey (10) all reached double-figures, as well. Harvey dished out a career-high five assists in the first half alone, and SIU outrebounded the bigger Valpo squad.

“Valpo is an extremely physical, tough, long, and athletic team,” SIU coach Bryan Mullins said. “After our slow start, I thought our guys were really determined to get this win. They played with great toughness and physicality. It was a team win. Everyone contributed. Everyone stepped up. We need to build on this. There were some really good moments defensively that we can continue to grow on and take with us for the rest of the season.”

SIU is 7-0 when it outrebounds its opponent and is 8-1 when it scores 67+ points. Since returning from a 21-day COVID break in January (10 games), SIU has been without leading scorer Marcus Domask, who is week-to-week with a left foot injury but not expected to play this weekend. Domask was the MVC Freshman of the Year last season.

Why Bet on Loyola Chicago? | 2021 NCAA Basketball Expert Analysis

The likely Missouri Valley Conference Player of the Year this season is Loyola’s Cameron Krutwig. Three years after helping his team make the shocking run to the Final Four in 2018, Krutwig is now a legitimate candidate for All-American honors after averaging 15.0 PPG, 6.6 RPG, 3.0 APG, 1.0 BPG and 1.0 SPG thus far. He also is a key player for Loyola, on defense, where the team is currently first in adjusted efficiency on KenPom.

The Ramblers (19-4, 14-2 MVC) haven’t yet won the conference regular-season title, though, as it is battling Drake. Loyola has been off since a Feb. 17 54-52 win over Valparaiso. Ben Krikke’s potential game-tying jumper with three seconds left was off the mark, but Goodnews Kpegeol appeared to tie the game and send it to overtime with a last-second put-back. However, Kpegeol was called for a foul and the Ramblers escaped with the two-point win.

Loyola got off to a slow start offensively. The Ramblers went scoreless for more than seven minutes and made just three of their first 15 field-goal attempts, including 1 for 6 on 3-pointers. Keith Clemons finished with a game-high 16 points and added five rebounds, while Krutwig delivered 13 points, six boards and five assists for Loyola.

With his five assists, Krutwig moved into a tie for 19thplace on Loyola’s career assists chart with 349 helpers. He is the only player in program history to rank in Loyola’s all-time top 10 in points, rebounds and assists.

Krutwig, the only player in Loyola history to rank in the program’s top 10 in points (1,713), rebounds (882) and assists (349), also is one of only four players in the storied history of the Missouri Valley Conference to have 1,500 career points, 800 career rebounds and 300 career assists, joining Oscar Robertson (Cincinnati), Larry Bird (Indiana State) and Hersey Hawkins (Bradley).

The Ramblers have prevailed in 12 of their last 13 contests overall and have won 20 straight games at home, which is the fifth-longest, active home-court winning streak in the nation. The Ramblers have also won 18 consecutive Missouri Valley Conference home games

Expert Prediction

  • Loyola Chicago 70, Southern Illinois 5
 
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