Game Preview: (12) Oregon State vs. (8) Loyola Chicago

Lineup notes

Oregon State:

  • Same starting lineup for two months straight: Lucas, Thompson, Reichle, Alatishe, Silva.
  • Of particular note is that Silva’s two highest-minute games this season came in the first weekend of the Tournament. He hadn’t topped 24 minutes prior to playing Tennessee, but after realizing the mismatch they had with him, Tinkle gave him a ton of run. Rodrigue Andela didn’t play a minute against Oklahoma State.
  • Look for Oregon State to get Maurice Calloo involved off the bench early. He’s averaging 20.7 minutes per game over Oregon State’s last three.

Loyola Chicago:

  • Same starting lineup since January 16: Norris, Clemons, Williamson, Uguak, and Krutwig.
  • The deepest the Ramblers go – AKA, how many players get 10+ minutes – is usually seven. Marquise Kennedy and Tate Hall both regularly play 15+ minutes each, but no one else typically gets into double-digits.
  • As always, because Loyola barely fouls at all, you can expect the Ramblers to have a relatively stable rotation. Krutwig has played less than 28 minutes just twice in the last two months; Norris has played 30+ in 11 of 13; Williamson 30+ in pretty much every non-blowout game.

Key matchups

Ethan Thompson vs. Braden Norris/Lucas Williamson. I don’t actually quite know which matchup will be the one; Thompson and Norris are each team’s respective point guards, but Thompson has four inches and a few pounds on Norris and matches up much more ideally with Williamson, while Norris (probably the least-effective defender of Loyola’s main five) could cover Zach Reichle at the 3. Anyway, Thompson single-handedly drove Oregon State to the Sweet Sixteen with a 26-point, 7-rebound performance in the second round that included 16 free throws. He’ll need to get on the board early and often, while Norris/Williamson need to hit threes (combined 38.3% from deep) and keep turnovers low.

Jarod Lucas vs. Keith Clemons. During Oregon State’s run in March, Lucas has been remarkably consistent: no fewer than 11 points, no more than 17. In all seven games, he’s hit at least two threes. He’s going to get off several in this game, which is why it’s of ultimate importance for Clemons to ensure those are guarded. On the other side of the ball, Lucas is Oregon State’s least-effective starting defender. Clemons has shot 46.3% from three in his career, and it would be very ideal for him to knock down two or three in this one.

Roman Silva vs. Cameron Krutwig. Silva has been surprisingly strong through two games of the Tournament, partially because he’s only committed five fouls across 55 minutes of play. Considering he was at 7 fouls per 40 minutes in the regular season, it’s hard to see that lasting. Krutwig draws about 4.6 fouls per 40, only commits 1.9 per 40 himself, and was the MVP of Sunday’s giant win over Illinois. He’ll need to be the best player on the court in this one, too

Three predictions

  1. Loyola attempts 20+ threes;
  2. Oregon State also attempts 20+ threes, but finally hits below 40% of them;
  3. Loyola Chicago 65, Oregon State 59.

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