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Preview: Loyola-Chicago Ramblers vs. Texas Tech Red Raiders

The Red Raiders are in Las Vegas as part of the Continental Tire Las Vegas Classic to take on the Loyola-Chicago Ramblers.

Michael C. Johnson-USA TODAY Sports

Game Details:

Date: Monday, December 22nd
Time: 7:00 pm
Good Guys: Texas Tech Red Raiders (9-1, 0-0)
Bad Guys: Loyola-Chicago Ramblers (8-2, 0-0)
Location: Orleans Arena | Las Vegas, NV
TV/Stream: At the time of writing this post there was no TV listed.  
Radio/Stream: Broadcast Affiliates and TuneIn App

Why the Ramblers. This may not interest anyone, if not, skip to the next sections. I was curious as to why Loyola-Chicago was called the "ramblers" especially considering that I thought that a rambler was a person that liked to walk. Then, in looking at the logo, it looks like a husky or some sort of dog. Well, sure enough, a rambler is a person that likes to walk in the countryside and according to the Loyola-Chicago site, they were originally known as the "Maroon and Gold" as most teams were known by their colors in the 1920. Additionally, this was also when Loyola-Chicago was a football school and in 1926, the nickname stuck as the Ramblers traveled across the US to play games, and so the name was kept despite the fact that Loyola-Chicago dropped football in the 1930. In 1982, they introduced a new mascot, "Bo Rambler," who was a hobo and it, "portrayed a bum rambling across the LU logo." They stopped using this logo in 1990 and then introduced the LU Wolf, in recognition of the wolf's association with St. Ignatius, which I also had zero idea about, but apparently stems from the idea that the family that St. Ignatius of Loyola came from a family that fed wolves after feeding everyone else had a logo placed over the lintel of the family home (I also had no idea what a "lintel" was, so to let you know it is a horizontal block that spans the space or openening between two vertical supports and is usually over the entranceway). In 2012, Loyola introduced their new logo, which is the wolf over the name "Loyola Ramblers".

Three Keys to the Game:

1. Scouting the Ramblers. The Ramblers are led by Milton Doyle (6-4/185) a sophomore shooting guard that is averaging 14.5 points a game on an astounding 57% from the field and a ridiculous 67% from the three-point line. To say that Doyle might be a player that you might want to watch is an understatement. Those stats are really incredible numbers and Doyle can really do it all. He can drive, dribble and shoot. He's got long arms and can get a floater up over most opponents. He can dribble and pull up and he's just terrific on the perimeter. Not only that, but Doyle also averages 4.5 assists a game. Then you have Christian Thomas (6-5/220) a small forward who is averaging 13.5 points a game on 55% from the floor and 53% from the three-point line (although Thomas has only shot 15 all year). Thoomas also grabs 4 boards a game. Montel James (6-7/220) is the other big inside player, and he averages 9.4 points a game and 5 rebounds. One other note, is that Devon Turk (6-4/195) is the most prolific outside shooter in that he has shot 43 three-point attempts for the year and made 17 for near 40%. Loyola-Chicago appears to be a perimeter oriented team and they have some shooters.

2. Stats. As noted above, Loyola-Chicago can shoot and is shooting much better than Texas Tech and that can be the difference in the game between two close teams. They both have the same turnover percentage (or thereabouts), but obviously, Texas Tech has the advantage over the offensive rebounding and free throw shooting rate. Both LCU and Texas Tech have pretty terrible strength of schedule ratings, LCU is 261st and Texas Tech is 331st, so this should be an interesting game for both squads.

KenPom has LCU as the 139th best team, with the 88th best AdjO and the 221st AdjD, which means that LCU and Texas Tech are pretty much polar opposites of each other. Texas Tech is the 101st best team according to the KenPom ratings and the 185th best team on AdjO and the 51st best team in AdjD.

*AdjO and AdjD via KenPom.

3. Matching Up. If there was ever a game where Texas Tech could really flex their muscles inside, this would be it. And it just so happens that we finally got to see what Justin Jamison brings to the plate as he's got a really nice outside shot and he's really active on the boards. Pair Jamison with Isaiah Manderson and Norense Odiase and you've got a formidable frontcourt that should take advantage of a smaller LCU team. Oh, and with Doyle being so prolific, Robert Turner and Randy Onwuasor will need to be on their A-games defensively. Doyle is really fantastic and those shooting percentages aren't a fluke.