The Sweet 16 gets going on Saturday with the 12-seed Oregon State Beavers (19-12) taking on the 8-seeded Loyola-Chicago Ramblers (26-4). Many did not believe either team would be here, but both looked good over the first weekend of NCAA Tournament action. Saturday’s tipoff is scheduled for 2:40 p.m. EST inside Bankers Life Fieldhouse in Indianapolis, IN. The Ramblers are a 6.5-point favorite over the Beavers in the Sweet 16 matchup, according to oddsmakers.
What to Know – Oregon State Beavers
Oregon State came into the tournament having won six of their last seven, including the PAC-12 Tournament Championship. The Beavers then went on to take down the Tennessee Volunteers (70-56) in round one, followed by an 80-70 victory over Oklahoma State in the round of 32.
The Beavers score 70.9 points per game behind a 43.6% shooting effort from the field and 35.6% effort from beyond the arc. OSU’s defense holds teams to 68.0 points per game on 42.9% shooting from the floor and 30.1% from deep.
Senior guard Ethan Thompson scored a team-high 26 points, aided by a 15-of-16 effort from the free-throw line, in Sunday’s victory over the Cowboys. Oregon State shot 41.2% from the field and held Oklahoma State to 27.7% shooting. The Beavers crashed the boards and outrebounded the Cowboys by 20 rebounds, 52-32.
Oregon State are 20-9-1 against the spread this season, with a 5-0 record over their last five. The Beavers are a perfect 5-0 ATS in neutral site contests and 11-9 ATS as the underdog.
What to Know – Loyola-Chicago Ramblers
Another bid to the Big Dance and another run for the Ramblers. Many believe Loyola was miss-seeded, and judging by their first two games of the tournament, we’d have to agree. The Ramblers beat Georgia Tech (71-60) and one-seed Illinois (71-58) to advance to the Sweet 16.
Loyola pours in 71.5 points per game while shooting 50.4% from the floor and 37% from the three-point line. The Ramblers have the nation’s best defense, surrendering 55.8 points per game and holding opponents to 41.3% shooting from the field and 32.4% from three.
In Sunday’s upset victory over the top-seeded Illini, the Ramblers put on one of the tournament’s best defensive performances, holding Illinois to well-below their season scoring average. Illinois struggled from deep, connecting on just 4-of-14 three-point field goal attempts. Loyola shot 51% from the field, led by senior center Cameron Kurtwig with 19 points.
The Ramblers are 18-9-1 ATS on the year, 5-0 ATS in their last five contests. Loyola is 4-1 ATS as the favorite and 5-1 in neutral-site battles.
The Pick is In
Both of these teams have burned oddsmakers this season, and both have been red-hot against the spread over the last few weeks. Loyola’s defense is legit, and they have shut down two good offenses in Georgia Tech and Illinois already this tournament. The Ramblers should have no trouble containing Oregon State’s offensive attack, while the Ramblers’ offense will continue to move the ball and take good shots. Loyola pulls away late.
The Pick: Loyola-Chicago Ramblers -6.5