Can Loyola-Chicago Do it Again?

The Loyola-Chicago Ramblers are a very interesting team to watch heading into the playoffs in this year’s college basketball season. While the program history doesn’t suggest they are a team that might be capable of making a deep tournament run, they might be in line to repeat what they accomplished in 2018, when they reached the Final Four and only a loss to #3 Michigan prevented them from playing in the Championship Game.

The big question seems to be whether they can repeat what they accomplished a few years ago. And even though they still remain a mid-tier school compared to some of the biggest powerhouses in the country, it’s not a secret that they can be a team to watch if they receive an invite to the NCAA Tournament.

Loyola-Chicago suffered back-to-back losses against Wisconsin and Richmond in mid-December and started the season with a 3-2 record, but since then, they have been extremely impressive. The Ramblers are ranked #20 nationwide and they have won six games in a row while also suffering just one defeat in their last 17 contests. That lone loss was a contest they could’ve easily won, though, as they were defeated by Drake in overtime (51-50). Their 16-2 Conference record sits at the top of the Missouri Valley Conference, and they also sit at the top of the MVC in terms of the overall record with just four losses in 28 contests (24-4). Year in and out the Ramblers are a NCAAB consensus pick to win the MVC, but this season they will be hoping to go far again in the NCAA Tournament. 

As if winning 16 of 18 Conference games wasn’t enough, the way the Ramblers have notched those wins has been equally impressive. Loyola-Chicago has earned 12 of their last 17 by a double-digit margin. They seem to be clicking on both ends of the court of late. But if there’s one player that will have to carry the Ramblers in the tournament, that’s Cameron Krutwig. The big man paces the team in points (14.8), rebounds (6.7), assists (3.0) and blocks (1.2) per game, and his play on both ends of the court has been a big reason why the Ramblers have looked so dominant at times.

The bracket will determine just how far the Ramblers can go this season, but they have looked extremely dominant on both ends of the court on most nights. Imagining another Final Four berth might be a stretch on paper, but they should have enough tools to make another deep postseason run once it’s all said and done.

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