Loyola +1 vs Kansas State:
Kansas State’s win over Kentucky was impressive but I’m not letting that overshadow Loyola’s win over Nevada, a team the public had beating Loyola because of their NBA level talent. Loyola has won 13 straight and has now beaten 3 teams with more talent than them in this tournament (Tennessee and Miami prior to Nevada).
Kansas State turned Kentucky over 15 times Thursday night and I don’t see that happening for Loyola – they run one of the most disciplined offenses in the country and they beat you with ball movement and incredible shot selection. I feel that Kentucky was a little rattled by Kansas State slowing them down and Loyola won’t have that problem. I also think that because everyone and their mother was on Kentucky, mentally they weren’t as sharp as they needed to be. Now the public’s emotions are a little out of wack after losing on Kentucky and I think Kansas State is getting a bit more credit for that win because of it. I don’t think it’s good for a team to go from a heavy underdog to a favorite (especially in 36 hours) and that’s the dynamic you have here with Kansas State. Dean Wade was clearly not 100% on Thursday night and I question how effective he can be tonight.
Clayton Custer is such a heady point guard for Loyola and leads the team in such a good way, whether it’s in their half-court sets or in transition. Loyola is 10-3 ATS their last 13 games and underdogs in the Elite 8 who covered their first 3 tournament games (which Loyola did) are 13-3 ATS the last 15 years. I may say a few Hail Mary’s during this game along with Sister Jean, but I’m backing the team who plays some of the smartest basketball I’ve seen in a while and plays ridiculous help defense.