Loyola tries to bounce back Wednesday from the weekend loss at Notre Dame when Cleveland State visits Gentile Arena. This is the first meeting between the Ramblers and the Vikings since Loyola left the Horizon League in 2013.
Loyola leads the all-time series 22-19.
What you should know about Cleveland State (2-7, No. 249 KenPom):
The Vikings got bit badly by the transfer bug this past offseason, and it’s showing in the team’s performance. Cleveland State’s only win against a Division I opponent came versus Rider, which is 2-8 and ranked No. 227 in KenPom.
Cleveland State has remained solid defensively, as expected, under defensive-minded coach Gary Waters, who is in his 10th year with the program. The Vikings’ interior defense is subpar with a thin frontcourt. Opponents are converting 60.7 percent of their two-pointers, the fourth-worst mark in Division I.
However, the Vikings defend much better on the perimeter. Sophomore Terrell Hales and freshman Rob Edwards rank in the top 100 nationally in steal percentage.
While Cleveland State opponents make a high percentage of their shots, the Vikings force them into turnovers on 22.3 percent of possessions.
What you should know about Loyola (5-4, No. 162 KenPom):
After a pair of games against top-flight competition, Wednesday marks the start of an eight-game stretch against teams ranked outside the KenPom top 150.
Prepare for a lot of turnovers in Wednesday’s games. Both teams love to force them on defense but struggle holding on to the ball when its in their hands.
Taking care of the ball will be crucial. When Cleveland State does not force turnovers, opponents shoot 60.7 percent on two’s and 32.8 percent on three’s. While Loyola has struggled to establish an inside game, it has two guards who can drive to the rim in junior Milton Doyle and senior Earl Peterson. The Ramblers are also one of the nation’s best 3-point shooting teams at 41.3 percent.
How to watch, listen and bet:
Start time: 7 p.m. CT
Line: Loyola -8.5
Sagarin: Loyola -7.5
Kenpom: Loyola 65, Cleveland State 58 (80%)