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PostPosted: Wed Mar 16, 2022 11:46 pm 
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Location: Chicago, Illinois
Friday, March 18, 2022 11:15 a.m.
PPG Paints Arena, Pittsburgh, Pa.

Loyola makes its eighth overall and second consecutive NCAA Tournament appearance in 2022 as a 10 seed facing the 7 seed Ohio State Buckeyes in Pittsburgh. Ohio State is one of nine Big Ten teams that were selected by the committee to the Dance this season.

It was a winding and sometimes turbulent road for the Ramblers from their appearance in the tournament one year ago, having navigated through a coaching transition, announcing a move to a new conference, and keeping several eligible players for an extra season. Coach Valentine-- the youngest head coach in Division I-- integrated several newcomers into the system, and after getting held off from the regular season title on the last day of the season guided the Ramblers to the Championship in a sometimes dominating performance at Arch Madness. This is only Loyola's second back-to-back NCAA Tournament appearance, and the first one since 1963 and 1964.

The Buckeyes are making their 35th appearance in the Dance (31 of them not later vacated by the NCAA), and their 13th appearance out of the last 16 tournaments. OSU has been to 11 Final Fours and won the NCAA National Championship in 1960. It sounds intimidating, but Loyola and OSU have exactly the same number of National Championships, although Loyola's title is a few years more recent. Speaking of recent performances, Loyola has been to two Sweet 16s since the last time Ohio State got there in 2013.

Since arriving at OSU in 2017, Coach Chris Holtmann has had the Buckeyes selected for every tournament that was able to be held, and in the Covid-cancelled season it was likely that OSU would have been a 5 seed. In 2018, the 5 seed Buckeyes lost to Gonzaga in the second round, in 2019 as an 11-seed they lost in the second round to Houston, and in 2021 as a 2 seed they lost in the first round to Oral Roberts in an epic overtime game. It was a massive fail for a fan base that is used to high-level success as a routine. Some OSU players (specifically E.J. Liddell) had threatening messages sent to them by social media after the loss. Coach Chris Holtmann has been derided for his underwhelming success in the postseason, despite some obvious bad luck and key injuries. Only at a school like OSU would four consecutive NCAA Tournament appearances, a 2-3 record in the NCAA Tournament, a 106-55 overall record, and a 58-40 Big Ten record lead to disgruntled mumbling.

OSU will likely start 6'7" junior forward E.J. Liddell, 6'5" freshman guard Malaki Branham, 6'1" senior guard Jamari Wheeler, 6'11" center Joey Brunk, and 6'6" forward Justin Ahrens. Both Liddell and Branham are Top 50 recruits, with Liddell one of only two two-time Illinois Mr. Basketball winners (the other was Jabari Parker). Liddell averages 19.6 points, 7.9 rebounds, and 2.5 assists. Branham pumps in 13.3 points and adds 3.6 rebounds and 1.9 assists per game. Brunk and Ahrens are starting because of injuries to several players. The top bench players are 6'2" grad-transfer guard Cedric Russell and 6'6" sophomore guard Eugene Brown.

Chunky 6'8" sophomore forward Zed Key and 6'8" super senior Kyle Young have been banged up, with Key not playing since the loss to Michigan and Young not playing since the Nebraska loss. Key was starting and averaging 8.1 points and 5.4 rebounds; Young was a top bench reserve who averaged 8.2 points and 4.9 boards. That is a huge loss for the frontcourt. Freshman guard Meechie Johnson, Jr. got a lot of playing time before getting banged up in the recent Michigan loss-- he also hasn't played since.

Add up the injuries, and it's not too surprising to find the Buckeyes dropped four of their last five games, including home losses to Nebraska and Michigan and a neutral loss to Penn State to open the Big Ten tournament. Ironically, that early loss to Penn State may have given some of the banged-up players some time to recover and play. The injury situation will be evolving over the next 36 hours; feel free to post updates.

Since the Ramblers are losing several seniors and moving to a new conference next year, this may be Loyola's last appearance in an NCAA Tournament for a while. KenPom and Vegas say Loyola wins by one or two; Bart Torvik says the Ramblers lose by one.

Loyola Game Notes: https://loyolaramblers.com/documents/20 ... _18_22.pdf

Ohio State Game Notes: https://ohiostatebuckeyes.com/buckeyes- ... ing-round/

TV/Streaming video: CBS, March Madness Live https://www.ncaa.com/march-madness-live/watch

Radio/Streaming audio: The Answer 560 https://560theanswer.com/listenlive

Live stats: https://www.ncaa.com/scoreboard/basketball-men/d1

Vegas Odds: Loyola by 1.5


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PostPosted: Thu Mar 17, 2022 7:15 am 
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Appears their two injured guys will play.


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PostPosted: Thu Mar 17, 2022 7:24 am 
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I hope we see the MVC tournament version of the Ramblers.

This will be a tough one but that only adds to the excitement. I hate that the game is so early. I'll have to find a downtown spot to slip into for lunch.

I think this will be a last second shot game so make sure to have the antacid at hand.

We would have never even been able to hope to be in a tossup game in the NCAA tournament against a big ten team six years ago. This is fun, no matter what happens.


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PostPosted: Thu Mar 17, 2022 7:41 am 
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Joined: Mon Feb 08, 2021 11:39 am
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JerseyCityRambler wrote:


Appears their two injured guys will play.


The headline doesn't match the story. They aren't fully practicing. I expect them to give it a go, as this is the Ncaa Tournament. They will probably be limited. Big guy with a reaggravated ankle injury and another on his third concussion.


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PostPosted: Thu Mar 17, 2022 8:27 am 
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I would think the concussion is binary. Either good to play fully or not good to play whatsoever.


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PostPosted: Thu Mar 17, 2022 9:02 am 
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PostPosted: Thu Mar 17, 2022 10:15 am 
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Another great preview JCT! Boys looked good in the open practice and they were heading straight over to Duquesne for what Drew called the “not fun practice.”


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PostPosted: Thu Mar 17, 2022 12:02 pm 
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Location: Chicago, Illinois
Duquesne's arena is like three short blocks from the PPG Arena. We'll be playing there as A10 foes beginning next year.


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PostPosted: Thu Mar 17, 2022 2:48 pm 
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Tenth seed But the favorite !!! Typical of the COMMITTEE Anyfhing to please a BIG Here is hoping we win but win BIG


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PostPosted: Thu Mar 17, 2022 8:25 pm 
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I predict Blers by 5! 69-64!

I wish I was in Pittsburgh…. Everyone there - I hope you’re having a blast!


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