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Wisconsin men’s basketball: Loyola (Chicago) preview

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The Fighting Sister Jeans are the newest addition to UW’s schedule this year.

NCAA Basketball: Final Four-Loyola vs Michigan
Cameron Krutwig is having a monster season this year after helping the Ramblers make the Final Four in 2018.
Soobum Im-USA TODAY Sports

The Loyola (Chicago) Ramblers burst onto the national scene in men’s basketball during their miracle run to the Final Four in 2018 where they lost to Michigan after leading by three points with seven minutes to go. Somehow, this year’s team may be even better. First of all, there are two starters who played significant roles on that Final Four team plus some exciting youth to go along with their veteran depth.

Senior center Cameron Krutwig, a four-year starter, anchors the Ramblers in the middle and was the first player in Missouri Valley Conference history to finish in the top-five in points, rebounds, assists, and field goal percentage last year. Senior guard Lucas Williamson is the only returning member from the MVC All-Defense team last year and should be the top defender in the conference this year.

Loyola (Chicago) Ramblers

  • Record: 3-0 overall, 0-0 MVC; last year 21-11 overall, 13-5 MVC
  • Ranked No. 52 by KenPom
  • Leading scorers this year: Cameron Krutwig, 17.3 ppg; Tate Hall 11.0 ppg; Braden Norris 8.7 ppg
  • Leading rebounders this year: Aher Uguak, 6.3 rpg; Lucas Williamson, 5.3 rpg; Krutwig 5.3 rpg
  • Leading assists this year: Marquise Kennedy, 3.3 apg
NCAA Basketball: Loyola University-Sister Jean 100th Birthday Celebration
Sister Jean, now 101, at her 100th birthday party.
Quinn Harris-USA TODAY Sports
  • Leading steals this year: Kennedy and Uguak, 1.3 spg
  • Leading blocks this year: Krutwig, 2.0 bpg

While the Ramblers didn’t light up the scoreboard last season (68.7 ppg, No. 247 in the nation) they shot 49.7% from the field (No. 5 in the nation) and 36.7% from distance (No. 33 in the nation) and this season their eFG% is 62.8% (54.9% from field, 41.3% from three) which is No. 2 in the country.

Krutwig is again stuffing the stat sheet and is currently the No. 7 player in the nation according to KenPom’s player of the year rankings. Senior wing Hall, Krutwig and reigning MVC Sixth Man of the Year Kennedy are all drawing fouls at an impressive clip, however the Ramblers are having trouble converting their free throw attempts into points.

NCAA Basketball: Final Four-Loyola vs Michigan
Head coach Porter Moser
Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports

Loyola has only played three games so far this year and only two of them have been against D-1 competition, but with such a veteran team there aren’t too many questions about what they will be despite the few games played. Head coach Porter Moser has been in charge for nine seasons at Loyola and has a fairly well-oiled machine there. Since the Badgers can’t play Northern Iowa, who along with Loyola should compete for the MVC conference title this year, the Ramblers are a pretty good place filler.