Wednesday, February 22, 2017, 7:00 p.m.
Gentile Arena, Chicago, Ill.
If you made a movie about Drake’s 2016-17 season, no one would believe it could really happen. The Bulldogs have been through an odd coaching change and have been the streakiest, most unpredictable Jekyll and Hyde team in the MVC this year– perhaps in all of college basketball. Drake began the season 1-10, their head coach resigned after the first seven games, they lost to non-D1 Alaska Anchorage, and their only win came against non-D1 Simpson College. Then they won two D1 games in a row, scoring over 100 in each, while kicking off a 6-4 stretch which saw them rise to third place in the MVC. They’ve followed that stretch with their current seven game losing streak.
Loyola began the conference season with a totally uncharacteristic, mystifying, insane 102-98 loss against Drake in Des Moines, in which the 2-10 Bulldogs beat the 10-3 Ramblers, who had up until then allowed the opposition an average of just 63.5 points per game. Loyola should be favored to win in the rematch, as a little frustration/revenge for the early season loss might be evident. The Bulldogs are also a terrible road team. Drake is 1-10 on the road this season, with their only win a 72-71 squeaker at Missouri State, and their average road margin of loss at 12 points per game. The Ramblers should have a large and energized crowd for the final home game of the year, and have much more to play for than Drake, who is all but already locked into a Thursday game.
Wednesday night’s game is the annual Jesuit Jam, a Loyola tradition dating back to the mid 1990s, in which students and fans can interact with and cheer/talk hoops with Loyola’s Jesuit community. The event begins at 6:50 pm at Gentile Arena. Students who arrive early receive a free Jesuit Jam Shirt (first 100) or bring $10 (cash) to purchase a Jesuit Jam Shirt and support their charity effort. There will be another legendary Jesuit Jam After-Party Celebration at the Damen Den, in the Damen Student Center for free pizza and prizes.
The Jesuits will also help honor senior Milton Doyle, who will be playing his final home game as a Rambler, and enters the game with 1572 points (10th in Loyola history), 473 rebounds, 443 assists (6th all time), 135 made three pointers (8th all time), 141 steals (8th all time), and 75 blocks (8th all time). Cheer loud for a Rambler who helped introduce Loyola into the MVC with class and excellence, and has helped to re-establish Loyola as top option for local hoops talent.
So there you have it—a big game for the Ramblers, one that they should be favored to win handily, the Jesuit Jam, Senior Night honoring one of the best players in Loyola history, a 4th, 5th, or 6th place conference finish on the line, and temperatures expected to be around 60 degrees in February. It would be nice to get a good, energized crowd given those circumstances.
- Loyola game notes: Pending
- Drake game notes: Pending
- TV/Streaming video: CSN Chicago Plus/ESPN3 (Link Pending)
- Vegas odds: Pending