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The NIT tips off Tuesday as No. 2 ranked Creighton hosts No. 7 ranked Loyola-Chicago. Loyola, of course, made a surprise run to the NCAA Final Four last year. But this year is a different story as they lost to Missouri Valley Conference tournament champion Bradley. Creighton, of the Big East, finished 18-14.
Loyola-Chicago falls to Bradley
Many people thought Loyola — last year’s surprise entry into the Final Four — had a good chance to get back to the NCAA’s this year as they had several key returning players. While they finished the regular season at 20-13, it wasn’t quite enough to get them there. Then they lost in the MVC conference tourney to eventual winner Bradley 53-51. A last-second shot by Marques Townes to tie it just bounced out. “They should have no regrets on how hard they worked, how hard they led,” Loyola coach Porter Moser said after the game. “They fought through so much with an injury … with everything they went through this year to win a Valley championship.” The Ramblers only shot 35 percent but made 9 three-pointers. They had 9 steals. Cooper Kaifes led Loyola with 14 points while Clayton Custer added 10 points and 6 rebounds. Lucas Williamson added 8 points.
Townes leads the team with 15 points and 3.5 assists per game, while Cameron Krutwig averages 14.7 points and 7 rebounds per game. Clayton Custer averages 11 points per game, while Williamson averages 9 points and 7 rebounds per game. As a team, the Ramblers average 66 points per game on 49 percent shooting from the floor (1oth in the nation) and 36 percent shooting from three. They also shoot 66 percent from the foul line. They average 30 rebounds, 13 assists, and 12 turnovers per game, Defensively, they only allow 60 points per game, on average, which is 5th in all of Division 1. Opponents shoot just 43 percent from the field and 36 percent from three against them. They average 6.4 steals and 2.2 blocked shots per game.
Creighton loses to Xavier
The Creighton Blue Jays finished the regular season with a record of 18-14 but they played in the tough Big East, which had 3 teams make the NCAA tourney. Creighton lost in the first round of the Big East Tournament to Xavier 63-61. They had a chance to win it in the final seconds, but a three attempt by TyShon Alexander was blocked. “We kept fighting, we kept digging, we got ourselves back in the game and gave ourselves a chance to win,” coach Greg McDermott said. “Unfortunately, we didn’t execute the last play very well.” Creighton shot 40 percent form the floor and made 10 threes, but couldn’t convert on the last one. The Blue Jays also only made 3 of 8 foul shots. Alexander led the Blue Jays with 21 points on 8 of 17 shooting including 4 of 9 from three. Martin Krampelj added 14 points and 9 rebounds for Creighton while Mitch Ballock had 10 points and 7 rebounds.
— WardOnHoops (@ward_hoops) March 14, 2019
Alexander leads the team with 16 points per game, while Martin Krampelj averages 13.7 points and 7 rebounds per game. Mitch Ballock averages 11 points per game, while Marcus Zegarowski averages 10 points and 3.3 assists per game. As a team, the Blue Jays average 78.8 points per game on 48 percent shooting from the floor (23rd in the nation) and 39 percent shooting from three (9th in the nation). They also shoot 68 percent from the foul line. They average 34 rebounds, 16 assists, and 13 turnovers per game, Defensively, they only allow 73.8 points per game, on average. Opponents shoot just 45 percent from the field and 35 percent from three against them. They average 6.8 steals and 2.5 blocked shots per game.
- Bluejays are 5-1 ATS in their last 6 games vs. a team with a winning straight up record.
- Bluejays are 5-1 ATS in their last 6 games overall.
- Bluejays are 5-1 ATS in their last 6 vs. Missouri Valley.
- Bluejays are 4-1 ATS in their last 5 home games.
- Bluejays are 6-2 ATS in their last 8 home games vs. a team with a losing road record.
- Bluejays are 10-4 ATS in their last 14 Tuesday games.
- Ramblers are 2-5 ATS in their last 7 vs. Big East.
- Ramblers are 1-4 ATS in their last 5 road games vs. a team with a home winning % of greater than .600.
- Ramblers are 1-5 ATS in their last 6 road games.
The Bottom Line What to bet on this game.
Full-Game Side Bet
Give me Creighton in this game giving up the points. Creighton finished the year playing as well as anyone in the Big East. They had won 5 straight before their 2 point loss to Xavier in the Big East Tournament. Loyola hasn’t been great on the road this year while Creighton has quality wins over Georgetown, Marquette, Providence, and DePaul in recent weeks.
Prediction: Creighton -9
Full-Game Total Pick
I’m taking the under. Loyola is a strong defensive team and will keep Creighton’s offense in check. But Loyola has seen its offensive production go down on the road, so look for this to be played in the under. The under is 5-1 in Ramblers last 6 non-conference games and 4-1 in their last 5 road games vs. a team with a home winning % of greater than .600. Also, the under is 4-1 in Bluejays last 5 games vs. a team with a winning % above .600 and 4-1 in their last 5 games following a straight up loss.