The Loyola-Chicago Ramblers have not quite recaptured the magic of last year’s Final Four at this point of the 2018-19 campaign, but they have at least won four of their last six games heading into home date with the Illinois State Redbirds at Gentile Arena on Saturday afternoon. Loyola-Chicago had won two in a row before falling at Evansville on Tuesday. The Redbirds are coming off consecutive victories over Evansville and Northern Iowa.
Fayne in fine form
With 19 points against Northern Iowa earlier this week, Illinois State senior Phil Fayne has climbed into 41st on the program’s career scoring mark with 1,024 points. This season, Fayne has made more than 57 percent of his shots from the floor. Over two-plus seasons with the Redbirds, Fayne is shooting 58.8 percent–good for the 28th-highest active field-goal percentage in the nation. In addition to ranking inside of the top 30 in career active shooting percentage, he also stands fourth in Illinois State history in that department. Meanwhile, Milik Yarbrough (798 points) and Keyshawn Evans (772) are also both within striking distance of reaching 1,000 for their careers. Yarbrough, a Missouri Valley Conference Player of the Year candidate, leads Illinois State with 16.7 ppg, 8.1 rpg, and 3.9 apg. However, he also averages 4.4 turnovers per contest. Fayne comes in at 15.8 ppg, 6.3 rpg, and 1.4 bpg, while redshirt junior guard Zach Copeland adds 10.8 ppg.
#REDBIRDhoops will travel to the Windy City on Saturday afternoon, as ISU will face off against the Loyola Chicago Ramblers in a rematch of the 2018 MVC Tournament championship game.
— Illinois State MBB (@Redbird_MBB) January 11, 2019
Through two conference contests, the Redbirds have given up a combined 104 points (58 at Valparaiso and 46 against Evansville). That is the second-lowest total by an Illinois State team through two MVC games in the program’s 38th season in the conference. The school record for fewest points allowed through the first three conference games is 155, while record for fewest points allowed through the first four conference games is 206.
Ramble on, baby
Loyola-Chicago puts a three-game home winning streak on the line when it welcomes in-state rival Illinois State to Gentile Arena. Dating back to last season, the Ramblers have also won 17 of their last 21 regular-season Missouri Valley Conference contests. They have reeled off eight straight wins in Valley play at home, with the most recent loss coming at the hands of Indiana State on Jan. 3 of last season. Over its last three games at Gentile Arena, Loyola-Chicago’s offense has fired on all cylinders–accounting for 78.0 points per game. The Ramblers have drained 61.5 percent (88 for 143) of their field-goal attempts and 46.4 percent (26 for 56) of their three-point tries. The 70-point mark has been the barometer for success for Loyola this season. When scoring at least 70, the Ramblers are 9-0 in 2018-19. Conversely, they are 0-7 when scoring fewer than 70 points. Loyola-Chicago is coming off a 67-48 loss at Evansville.
In that setback, Marques Townes scored a team-high 14 points; Franklin Agunanne scored 13 and Cameron Krutwig added 10. The Ramblers went a mere 1-of-7 from long range and were out-rebounded 36 to 27 to go along with a mere six assists against 17 turnovers. For the year, Loyola-Chicago has three players averaging in double-figure scoring (with all three averaging between 13.9 ppg and 13.4 ppg). Clayton Custer leads the way, while Townes also averages 13.9 ppg. Krutwig comes in at 13.4 ppg, while Lucas Williamson–who has missed the most recent eight games because of injury–averages 8.0 ppg. Krutwig pulls down an average of 7.4 rrpg to lead the team, while Williamson averages 6.5 rpg and Townes is bringing down 5.2 rpg.
The Loyola-Chicago Ramblers are:
- 4-1 ATS in their last five overall
- 16-5 ATS in their last 21 games against the Missouri Valley Conference
- 17-8 ATS in their last 25 home games against teams with road winning percentages under .400
The Illinois State Redbirds are:
- 1-4 ATS in their last five road games
- 2-5 ATS in their last seven road games against teams with home winning percentages over .600
- 2-6 ATS in their last eight games following a win
The Bottom Line What to bet on this game.
Full-Game Side Bet
The Redbirds have struggled on the road this season and are winless in four true road games, including a 94-75 setback at Illinois-Chicago on Dec. 5. Three of Illinois State’s four road losses have come by double-digits. ISU is allowing 73.9 points per game. The Ramblers are 9-3 ATS in their last 12 on Saturdays and 7-3 ATS in the last 10 meetings between the two teams.
Prediction: Loyola-Chicago Ramblers
Full-Game Total Pick
Through three MVC games this season, Illinois has given up a combined 173 points–the fourth-lowest total in the Redbirds’ 38 seasons in the conference. In its last two meetings with Illinois State, Loyola-Chicago has held the Redbirds to 55.0 ppg, 36.4 percent (44 for 121) shooting from the field, and 30.9 percent (17 for 55) from the land of plenty. The under is 7-3 in the Redbirds’ last 10 on the road, 4-0 in their last four against winning opponents, and 7-2 in their last nine on the road against opponents with winning home records. It is also 18-6 in the Ramblers’ last 24 overall, 9-2 in their last 11 at home, 4-o in their last four against winning opponents, 7-1 in their last eight against the Missouri Valley Conference, and 4-0 in their last four after scoring less than 50 points in their previous outing. Additionally, the under is 4-0 in the last four meetings between the two teams. Look for this one to stay under the total.