The Miami Hurricanes knew they would hear their name called on Selection Sunday as an at large bid, and many had projected the Canes to be a six-seed in the field of 68, but who they would play remained a mystery until the bracket was revealed.
The six-seed Miami Hurricanes in the South Region will play the 11th-seed Loyola-Chicago Ramblers in Dallas, Texas on Thursday around 3:00 p.m. ET on TruTV.
The Ramblers are dancing for the first time since 1985 after winning the Missouri Valley Conference regular season and tournament championship where they beat Illinois State 65-49.
Head coach Porter Moses led guided a veteran Ramblers squad to a 28-5 record, while going 15-3 in conference play. Let’s dig into Loyola-Chicago’s season a little more:
The Ramblers went 10-2 in their non-conference schedule that featured two NCAA tournament teams, an above-average Mountain West team, and a slew of mid majors. Their marquee win of the season was at then fifth ranked Florida, beating them 65-59. The other win over a tournament team was in the season opener against Wright State who won the Horizon League tournament for an automatic bid. The Ramblers lost to Boise State and Milwaukee by double-digits, both being road games.
Loyola-Chicago ran through the MVC with ease, going 15-3 and winning the regular season title by four games. Two of their three losses came in the beginning of conference play where their top scorer, Clayton Custer was out due to injury. The Ramblers won seven straight in his return, before losing to Bradley, which was followed by another seven game win streak to end the regular season before the conference tournament. The team led the MVC in scoring offense, scoring defense, field goal percentage, three-point percentage, assists, and turnover margin according to midmajormadness.com.
Loyola-Chicago has one of the most balanced scoring attacks in the nation as five players average double-figure points per game. The MVC Player of the Year, Custer, struggled in the conference tournament, but has scored double figures in 24 of 28 games played. The Iowa State guard transfer averages 13.4 points per game and 4.3 assists per game, and the Ramblers are 26-2 when he plays. Veteran guards Donte Ingram and Marques Townes each average over 11 points per game, while freshman starting center, Cameron Krutwig, averages 10.5 points per game. Senior guard, Ben Richardson, the fifth starter, missed 10 games this season and only scores 6.7 points per game, but won MVC Defensive Player of the Year. The Sixth Man of the Year in the MVC was none other than Loyola-Chicago’s Aundre Jackson, a 6’5” senior forward who averages 10.9 points per game off the bench.
Quick Hit Info:
-Loyola-Chicago is coming into the tournament on a 10-game win streak
-Holds opposing teams to 62.2 points per game, the fifth fewest in the nation
-Ranked 23rd in adjusted defensive efficiency according to KenPom.com
-Ranked 25th offense against man-to-man defense according to Synergy Sports. So, just play zone, right? Not so fast...
-Shoots 40% from beyond the arc as a team
-Committed the sixth-fewest fouls in the country
-Miami opened as a one-point favorite in Vegas
Go Canes, Survive and Advance!