A sloth race in a swamp: that’s what this Midwest Regional semifinal at Bankers Life Fieldhouse in Indianapolis will resemble. A 100-meter sprint in three feet of molasses: a sundial will be required to time it.
In the NCAA sports betting arena, a matchup like this, in principle, is viewed like a limbo contest: how low can you go?
Loyola Chicago -6.5 vs. Oregon State, Total 125.5, Saturday, 2:40 pm ET
Action: Oregon State +6.5 and Under 125.5
Ever witnessed a fistfight in a phone booth? Well, step right up. Grab a seat. For its own special reasons, the Loyola vs. Oregon game will be a magnificent one.
Nineteen of Loyola’s past 20 opponents have failed to score more than 60 points. The Ramblers, so far, have allowed a national-low 56.1 points.
|DraftKings Sportsbook||Point Spread||Moneyline||Totals|
|Loyola Chicago||-6.5 (-110)||-295||O 125.5 (-112)|
|Oregon State||+6.5 (-110)||+235||U 125.5 (-109)|
*Odds provided by DraftKings
See all of our Live March Madness Odds.
How The Two Teams Stack Up
It gets worse for the Beavers because Loyola is like a hungry boa on the hunt. Of teams remaining in the NCAAs, over their past three games, Loyola has allowed a paltry opponents’ effective possession ratio of 0.867. That trails only Baylor, at 0.850.
Loyola’s opposition averages a hair fewer than 19 seconds per possession, and the only other defense in the country that has kept its enemies penned up longer this season has been Bradley’s, at 19.1 seconds.
Oregon State, meanwhile, gives just as scant breathing room to the other guys. Over its past three games, foes have shot 35.4%, the second-stingiest shooting defense among teams left in the tourney to only USC, at 33.5%.
In addition, the Beavers have covered — as an underdog getting 5 to 8.5 points on every occasion — in seven of their past eight games. Overall, Oregon State has covered 12 of its previous 13, only one of those as a (1-point) favorite.
This will be a low-scoring joust, extremely difficult to muster points, so the team getting at least a half-dozen is bestowed with a golden cushion.
A professional bettor, who has made his living solely from wagering on sporting events for more than 40 years, says he does not favor taking Loyola and giving points.
Not that the Ramblers won’t defeat Oregon State and move along to meet the victor of Syracuse-Houston in the Elite Eight, but the mucked-up nature of this game will create minimal scores and a narrow victory margin.
He says Loyola 10th-year coach Porter Moser, a disciple of the late Rick Majerus, might be the best floor boss in the business:
“He just carved up Illinois, a super-smart guy. Loyola probably wins a close game. The Ramblers are so deliberate on defense, and they take great shots and never turn it over. And if you get behind them, it’s lights out. If they get any serious lead, the other guys will be fighting upstream.”
He continued on to say, “you don’t want to do that against Loyola. It doesn’t give the other team a chance to come back.”
Something Extra Special
Oregon State coach Wayne Tinkle had been 0-for-4 in the NCAAs — three first-round defeats (to New Mexico, Wisconsin, and Syracuse) at Montana, one with the Beavers (to VCU) — before this one kicked off.
Double-digit victories over Tennessee and Oklahoma State have not only shined a huge spotlight on them but as one of four Pac-12 teams still alive, their league has been swathed in praise.
Sunday, Tinkle revealed how he had spent his grade-school years, as the youngest of 11 children, in Chicago, where his father had been Loyola’s dean of students. He had prayed for this meeting.
“Coach Moser is doing a great job and they’re a hell of a team,” Tinkle told reporters. “But his is really going to mean something extra special for me and my family.”
The end might arrive against the Ramblers, just don’t expect Oregon State to lay down for anyone. These Beavers are battlers.
Loyola center Cameron Krutwig, a 6-foot-9, 255-pound senior, should be recognized for his status as an élite college hoopster. Since Collin Gillespie (Villanova) and Isaiah Livers (Michigan) have been sidelined (knee, out for the rest of the season and foot, status doubtful), Krutwig is the most-decorated figure still playing in the NCAAs.
Just three years ago, he guided the Ramblers to the Final Four, where it lost to the Wolverines. Livers played for 12 minutes and yanked down two rebounds. Krutwig had 17 points and six boards against Michigan, with an assist and six turnovers. (In 16 minutes off the bench, Gillespie tallied five defensive boards and four points in Nova’s title-winning effort against the Wolverines, and Livers missed both of the shots he took.)
Krutwig went for 10 and 5 in Loyola’s NCAA opener against Georgia Tech. Sunday, however, his adrenaline rightly ran high in a 71-60 victory over top-seeded Illinois at Hinkle Fieldhouse. He recorded 19 points and 12 boards, dished out five assists, and stole the ball four times against the Illini in the heavyweight Land of Lincoln showdown.
Other Players To Watch
In his player-of-the-year tally, stats guru Ken Pomeroy has Krutwig listed in third (1.693). This is behind Gonzaga’s Drew Timmee (1.952) and Iowa’s Luka Garza (1.902). Oregon State’s Roman Silva, a 7-1 senior from Rancho Cucamonga, California, and understudy Dearon Tucker, a 6-10, 240-pound sophomore from Dallas, will be kept busy by Krutwig.
The native of Algonquin, Illinois, might drive those two zany, guiding them to the high post. This would free up space down low for teammates to receive Krutwig’s nifty bounce passes for backdoor layups.
Those complements include sophomore sharpshooter Braden Norris (13 PPG, 5 APG, 3 RPG past five) and senior guard Lucas Williamson (14.6 PPG in four of his past five).
In the disappearances of forward, Aher Uguak, and guard, Keith Clemons, last time out, Marquise Kennedy, a 6-1 sophomore from Chicago, provided 14 valuable points.
Enough To Cover
Oregon State’s main weapon is 6-5 senior Ethan Thompson. He went for 13-10 in the opener over Tennessee and pelted Oklahoma State with 26, which included a 15-for-16 effort at the line.
That would have marked a career game. That is if it hadn’t been for the 31 he scored in a losing effort, in overtime, against Portland.
In addition, 6-3 sophomore Jarod Lucas has registered double digits in scoring for nine consecutive games, including 26 against Stanford. Warith Alatishe, a 6-7 junior from Houston, has nabbed 49 rebounds in his past five games.
It will not require much, but the Beavers have enough to cover.