In their first NCAA Tournament game since 2010, the Georgia Tech Men’s Basketball team has opened as a 2 1/2-point underdog to the Loyola-Chicago Ramblers per The Action Network. The over/under for the game is set at 126.5, giving a project score of 64.5-62 in favor of Loyola-Chicago.
The Jackets (17-8, 11-6) are the Midwest Regions No.9 seed, are coming off their first ACC Tournament title since 1993 defeating Miami and No.15 Florida State in the process. They’re winners of their last eight straight, their longest winning streak since the 2003-04 season.
Loyola-Chicago, the No.8 seed in the region on the other hand, enters the NCAA Tournament 24-4 and 16-2 in Missouri Valley Conference play. They’re playing in the second NCAA Tournament over the last four years. In 2018, they made a run to the Final Four before being knocked off by the Michigan Wolverines. This season, they were both the MVC Regular Season champions and MVC Tournament champions.
An early look at Friday’s matchup shows an intriguing one between two similar but also very different teams. The Yellow Jackets starting five is without a doubt the superior starting five between the two but Loyola-Chicago possesses the better dept. They’ll have the advantage of having fresher bodies later in the game while the Jackets will likely only play seven players in the game.
Both teams value strong defensive play and while the Jackets have been very good defensively this season, allowing 70 points per game and forcing 15.9 turnovers per game. The Ramblers, are statistically the nation’s top defensive team, only allowing 55.5 points per game this season.
Offensively, the Ramblers won’t be the type of a team that puts up 80+ points consistently. They’re only averaging 71.5 points per game this season. Part of that is by designed, to go with their strong defensive play as the Ramblers don’t look to push the pace. They’ll consistently eat up much of the shot clock time before taking their shots. That being said, they have just one player who is averaging double-digit points this season in senior center Cameron Krutwig. The Yellow Jackets this season offensively have been good, averaging 75.5 points per game and have more scoring depth but also have not been turning the ball over in high volumes. To beat the Ramblers, they’ll have to be careful with turnovers on Friday as well as being efficient with their shot making as the Ramblers will certainly look to limit the Jackets total amount of possessions.
We’ll have a deeper look into how the Jackets and Ramblers matchup later this week. But overall, it’s safe to say that the Friday afternoon matchup between the Yellow Jackets and Ramblers is quickly turning into one of the most anticipated games of the First Round.
The Yellow Jackets and Ramblers will tip-off on Friday afternoon at 4:00 p.m. with the game televised on TBS.