Ohio State vs. Loyola Chicago 2022 NCAA March Madness Preview & Picks
The No. 7 Ohio State Buckeyes will take on the No. 10 Loyola Chicago Ramblers in the first round of the NCAA on Friday afternoon at 12:15 p.m. in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Ohio State finished the season at 19-11 overall and 12-8 in the conference. They exited the Big Ten conference tournament in their first game with their loss to Penn State.
Loyola was 25-7 overall and finished 13-5 in the Missouri Valley Conference. They ended up beating Drake in the conference tournament by a score of 64-58. This is the Ramblers' third time making the NCAA tournament in the last five years of the tournament.
Let’s look ahead at what should be a fantastic 7-10 matchup on Friday.
The current odds give Ohio State don't really give the Buckeyes an advantage over Loyola with the Buckeyes only being favored by 0.5 points. The Buckeyes have odds of -110 to win compared to the Ramblers with odds of -110 to win. The over/under for the game is set at 132.5 total points. The No. 10 teams have been 5-2 against No.7 seeds in the past two tournaments (one game was called last year due to covid).
Key Stats to Watch
For the Buckeyes, their KenPom rating is 31 with an offensive efficiency ranking of 13th and defensive efficiency ranking of 131st. Their quad 1, quad 2, quad 3, and quad 4 records are 5-5, 5-5, 6-1, and 3-0, respectively. EJ Liddell leads the team in points with 19.6, rebounds with 7.9, and blocks with 2.6.
The Ramblers KenPom ranking edges out the Buckeyes at 24. They have offensive and defensive efficiency rankings of 42nd and 22nd, respectively. They have a quad 1 record of 3-2, quad 2 record of 5-4, quad 3 record of 7-1, and a quad 4 record of 9-0. For those unfamiliar with the Quadrant ranking system, here's more on it. The offense for Loyola is very balanced, but senior Lucas Williamson is the team’s leader. He is averaging 14 points, five rebounds, and three assists.
The Buckeyes have not gotten past the second round in the NCAA tournament in the Chris Holtmann era. Their highest AP Poll ranking this season was 13th. The Ramblers have gotten past the first round in their past two trips and will look to continue their success against the Buckeyes on Friday.
This will be a hotly contested battle and will be one of the closest to 50/50 in terms of who people decide to pick for their bracket. Loyola will be a popular pick because of their past tournament success and their main spokesperson, Sister Jean, who has turned into an icon for the team, but the Buckeyes have NBA prospect EJ Liddell and have the better seed.
I’m rolling with the Ramblers because Ohio State has been shaky at the end of the season. The Big Ten tournament was a great way for the Buckeyes to get some momentum going into the NCAA tournament, but their loss to a struggling Penn State team ruined that for them and will ultimately be the start of the end of their season when they fall to Loyola on Friday.
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