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NCAA Final Four: Loyola-Chicago Ramblers vs. Michigan Wolverines Preview

Ncaa Final Four 2018

Loyola-Chicago Ramblers vs. Michigan Wolverines Final Four Preview

Will it be the NCAA Final Four version of the movie “Hoosiers”? The 11th seeded Loyola-Chicago Ramblers will take on West Region champion, Michigan Wolverines. The South Region Champion Ramblers battle for the right to play for this year’s national championship. Michigan was the #3-seed out of the West.

Oddsmakers have the Wolverines as 5-point favorites and the total is at 130. Tip-off for this game is set for 6:09 pm EST. TBS Superstation will have the telecast.

The late game on Saturday between Villanova and Kansas is the more marquee matchup. Michigan and Loyola will battle in the early game to see if their unexpected feel-good stories will continue. The winner gets to the national championship game.

Loyola and the whole Sister Jean phenomenon have overtaken college basketball fans everywhere. This game will definitely have plenty of eyeballs watching it.

Michigan Can Make Final Four Playing all High Seeds

Michigan may become the first team to advance to the national championship game without playing a team seeded fifth or higher. The way Michigan has been playing the last couple of months proves they are no fluke.

Michigan entered the tournament as one of the hotter teams in the country. They had wins over top-10 opponents Michigan State and Purdue in the Big 10 Tournament. The Wolverines haven’t slowed down a bit. They are on a 13-game winning streak. The team has proven it can win offensively and defensively.

The Wolverines have been bad on offense in three of their four tournament wins. The lone exception was a 99-point outburst in a 99-72 regional semifinal win over Texas A & M.

A buzzer-beating 3-pointer from 30-feet by Jordan Poole beat Houston in the second round. Stellar defense throughout so far and Michigan has advanced to its second Final Four in the past six years.

The Wolverines present a huge problem for the Ramblers. 6-foot-11-inch Moe Wagner is the HUGE PROBLEM. Wagner is good enough to post up yet skilled enough to step out and play from the wing. He can drain 3’s as easily as he can play with his back to the hoop.

The Ramblers do not have a defender, on paper, that can hang with Wagner. Six-foot-nine-inch freshman Cameron Krutwig can match up with Wagner in the post. If Wagner takes the Loyola center outside, he may is in trouble.

Final Four Has its Cinderella

Very few had the Ramblers penciled to make it to the Final Four. If they say they did ask to see their bracket.  In reality that is what the mid-major out of the Missouri Valley Conference finds itself after a dream ride.

The Ramblers had back-to-back buzzer-beating wins over Miami and Tennessee in the first two rounds. Then a one-point win over Nevada in a regional semifinal. They then routed Kansas State 78-62.

Loyola is guard-heavy team that relies on ball movement and penetration. Loyola will have its toughest test of the season. The Michigan defense has shut opposing guards down throughout its winning streak. Michigan has the best defense left in the tournament.

The Ramblers are one of the best defensive teams as well. That is not just in the tournament but in the entire nation. They have limited teams to just 62.4 points per game. Each of Loyola’s last 10 opponents has been held to 68 or fewer points.

Where the Ramblers really excel though is on offense. They rival Villanova as the best shooting team in the Final Four. Loyola has hit 50.9 percent of its shots from the floor. They also have hit 40 percent from 3-point range.

If they don’t get you with the 3-pointer, the Ramblers’ offense is well-versed in the art of the backdoor cut and driving to the hoop.

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Dirty has been an employee or owner of some of the top online sports gambling forums since 1998. He worked at EOG.com from it's inception until 2008 when he left and opened GamblingIQ and then in 2012 opened Handicappers Hidaway. He has written hundreds af articles over the years and always has his "Dirty Dozen" College Football poll up starting the first week of October.
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