Check out our 3 best plays in today’s video:
Ball State at Loyola of Chicago
When and Where: Wednesday, Dec. 5, Gentile Arena, Chicago, Ill., 9 p.m. EST.
Looking to pick up some momentum before a high-profile road game, Loyola of Chicago looks to win back-to-back games Wednesday night when it hosts red-hot Ball State.
Cards seek fifth straight win
Ball State (5-3), which has suffered two of its three losses to ranked teams (Purdue, Virginia Tech) and all three to high-major schools, extended its winning streak to four with an 85-75 win at IUPUI on Saturday.
It was not a pretty victory as the Cardinals committed a season-high 23 turnovers, but they did shoot 56 percent and had five players in double figures. Tahjai Teague scored 19 points while Tayler Persons contributed 16, nine rebounds and five assists.
Moving on, playing Final Four team Loyola on Wednesday. “It’s going to be a great atmosphere.” pic.twitter.com/zk5dXi0rh4
— Ball State Men’s Basketball (@BallStateMBB) December 1, 2018
Though one of the victories came against a non-Division I opponent, Ball State is averaging 92.3 points while shooting 52.7 percent during its win streak. The Cardinals are second in the Mid-American Conference in overall shooting at 49.7 percent and 3-point shooting (37.7 percent).
Persons leads three Ball State players in double figures with 17.5 points per game, followed by K.J. Walton (14.3 ppg) and Teague (13.3). Kyle Mallers is contributing 9.8 points per game and has a team-high 15 3-pointers.
Dating back to last season, the Cardinals have won three of their last four true road games, highlighted by their buzzer-beating win over then-No. 9 Notre Dame in 2017-18.
Ramblers coping with high-profile schedule from Final Four run
Loyola (5-3) appears to be finally getting itself back to normal following an upgraded schedule that included a round of 16 NCAA Tournament rematch against then-No. 5 Nevada which it lost and also suffered a defeat in Fort Myers, Fla., to Boston College.
Another such game awaits the Ramblers on Saturday at Maryland, but first things first, and that means trying to build on their win at crosstown rival Illinois-Chicago. Loyola recorded a 73-64 victory Saturday with a crisp shooting night, connecting at 56.9 percent, and held a Flames team averaging 79.6 points nearly 16 below its season mark.
— Loyola Men's Basketball (@RamblersMBB) December 1, 2018
Marques Townes, Cameron Krutwig and Clayton Kuster scored 16 points apiece while freshman guard Cooper Kaifes — getting first crack at the spot vacated by Lucas Williamson‘s injury — hit 3 of 4 from 3-point range and added 12 overall.
“I’m really proud of our guys,” Loyola coach Porter Moser told the Chicago Tribune. “Their approach after the Nevada game (a 79-65 loss), they learned from what they did and kept their heads up. It was a grind-out effort.”
Kaifes, who is averaging 7.3 points, has made 14 of 23 (60.9) from 3-point range and shooting 60 percent overall. Townes, Custer, and Krutwig form a balanced trident offensively for Loyola, averaging between 13.3 and 14.9 points. The Ramblers are shooting 50.2 percent overall, tops in the Missouri Valley Conference.
Loyola of Chicago is:
- 37-16 ATS in its last 53 games following a straight up win.
- 10-3 ATS in its last 13 games as a favorite between 0.5 and 6.5 points.
- 47-22 ATS in its last 69 games following an ATS win.
- No trends of note.
Ball State is:
- 4-9 ATS in its last 13 games vs. above-.500 teams.
- 1-4 ATS in its last five road games as an underdog.
- 0-4 ATS in its last four road games as an underdog between 0.5 and 6.5 points.
- The over is 18-7-2 in its last 27 non-conference games.
- The over is 4-1 in its last five road games.
- The over is 49-22-4 in its last 75 games as an underdog between 0.5 and 6.5 points.
The Bottom Line What to bet on this game.
Full-Game Side Bet
This has the look of a trap game for Loyola before taking on another big-name opponent in Maryland, but the Ramblers looked more true to their identity from last season in their win over UIC. More importantly, there was little fall-off without Williamson, considered one of Loyola’s top on-ball defenders, to the freshman Kaifes.
Prediction: Pick: Loyola of Chicago -4.5
Full-Game Total Pick
Both teams shoot the ball well, and both teams do not have lights-out defenses, especially on Ball State’s side as the Cardinals are giving up 75.0 points per game. The teams play at roughly the same pace, and the belief is they will get enough good looks to clear the number here.
Prediction: Pick: OVER 144 points
Half-Time Side Pick
Take away the Nevada game, and Loyola has played well at home in the first half, leading by six or more at halftime in three of its other four games at Gentile Arena. Ball State has led after 20 minutes in its two games at road or neutral sites against mid-majors, but the Ramblers should have enough to grab a two-possession lead after 20 minutes.
Prediction: Pick: Loyola -3
Half-Time Total Bet
The Cardinals have been at 69 or more in four of their five games outside Muncie, Indiana, while Loyola has been at 65 or better in four of their last five. It may be close, but both teams run good offenses and should be able to reach the mid-30s to hit the over.
Prediction: Pick: OVER 67.5 points