After splitting the last season’s two-game set, the Northern Iowa Panthers and Loyola Chicago Ramblers meet each other for the first time this term on Saturday, January 16, 2021, at Joseph J. Gentile Arena in Chicago, Illinois.
The Ramblers opened as double-digit favorites for this Missouri Valley Conference showdown, according to DraftKings Sportsbook. I’ve prepared the most important tips and stats along with my best betting pick for the Northern Iowa vs. Loyola Chicago clash, so let’s take a closer look.
The Panthers failed to sweep the Braves at home
The Northern Iowa Panthers (3-8; 2-4 Conf.) are coming off a two-game home set against Bradley. They beat the Braves 78-72 as 2.5-point favorites in the opener but suffered a 75-73 defeat ass 2-point dogs this past Monday.
Junior forward Austin Phyfe continues to lead the way for the Panthers, averaging 12.4 points and 6.9 rebounds. He had 18 points and nine boards in that six-point victory over Bradley while posting nine points, 11 boards, and six assists in a loss to the Braves.
Northern Iowa will miss junior guard A.J. Green (hip) for the rest of the season, and he was tallying 22.3 points and 5.7 rebounds per game through his three appearances this season. The Panthers are No. 177 in the NCAA NET Rankings at the moment and No. 126 in the KenPom rankings. They score 105.9 points per 100 possessions (93rd in the country) and allow 102.0 in a return (172nd).
The Ramblers aim for their fifth straight home win
The Loyola Chicago Ramblers (8-3; 3-1 Conf.) played their last two games at Indiana State, and after a 76-71 defeat this past Sunday, they beat the Sycamores 58-48 on Monday night. The Ramblers were listed as 8-point favorites on both occasions, and it was their first loss of the season when they took the floor as a fave.
Loyola Chicago is now No. 65 in the NCAA NET Rankings and No. 48 in the latest KenPom rankings. The Ramblers have the 37th-best defensive rating in the country, yielding 93.1 points per 100 possessions, while their offensive rating ranks 64th (108.4).
The Ramblers possess great depth and often use nine or ten guys in their rotation. Senior center Cameron Krutwig is their best player, notching 16.1 points and 6.6 rebounds per game, while senior guard Lucas Williamson adds 9.0 points, 4.4 boards, and 2.9 assists a night.Northern Iowa:
- 2-8-1 ATS in 11 games this season
- 1-5 ATS in the last six road contests
- 4-1 ATS in the last five games overall
- 4-1 ATS in the last five home games against Northern Iowa
- 6-3 ATS in the last nine tilts played in January
The Winner Prediction
The Panthers have covered the spread in four of their last five encounters with the Ramblers, but they are only 2-9 SU and 4-7 ATS in the previous 11 matchups with Loyola Chicago. Also, the Panthers are 0-5 SU and 1-4 ATS in their previous five visits to Joseph J. Gentile Arena.
Although the Panthers’ last three losses came by six or fewer points, I have to take the Ramblers as 9.5-point favorites. Loyola Chicago is an experienced team that leans heavily on four seniors. The Ramblers play terrific defense and will be all over Austin Phyfe, while their offense should have enough firepower to torture the Panthers’ poor defense.
Pick: Take Loyola Chicago -9.5 at -115
This is a tricky matchup to bet on the totals, as Northern Iowa loves to play at a fast pace, averaging 72.1 possessions per 40 minutes (45th in the country), while the Ramblers record only 66.2 (305th).
The over is 14-3 in the Ramblers’ last 17 games overall, and it is 6-2 in the Panthers’ previous eight outings. On the other hand, the total has gone under in five of the last seven encounters between these two foes. I would rely on the Ramblers’ defense to dominate this clash and take the under.
Pick: Go under 139.5 points at -110