Team: Loyola (IL)
Conference: Missouri Valley
Current Record: 14-3
Coach: Porter Moser
Coach Profile: Moser previously spent time as head coach at Little Rock (2000-2003) and Illinois State (2003-2007). He then spent four year at Saint Louis before taking the Loyola job in 2011. Most people learned who he was back in 2018 when he took the Ramblers on an incredible run to the Final Four. They haven’t returned to the tournament since, but this team has the weapons to do it.
What Makes Them Special?
They are a complete team; Loyola is the 6th best defense in the country by KenPom’s adjusted defense (only behind Houston, Tennessee, Baylor, Memphis and Michigan). Some really good company there for a team from the Missouri Valley.
They may be Elite defensively, but that doesn’t mean they can’t score. They have a top 50 offense too that ranks 9th in the country in effective field goal percentage. They have an effective field goal percentage of 56.9%, while their opponents are at just 45.7%. They also take care of the ball. Only seven teams have had the ball stolen from them less often then the Ramblers this season.
Kenpom has this Loyola team ranked 16th in the country right now! That’s high enough that they should absolutely be in talks for an at-large bid. They were ranked 31 on Kenpom during their Final Four season so it’s not crazy to suggest that this team is better.
The offense runs through big man Cameron Krutwig. He was a freshman starter on the team that made the Final Four run and now he’s probably the best player in the Missouri Valley. He can both score and pass out of the post. He’s definitely not their only option, but they are at their best when they play through him.
Loyola has four other seniors that have been instrumental in the Ramblers success: Tate Hall, Lucas Williamson, Keith Clemons and Aher Uguak. Hall, Williamson and Clemons can all stretch the floor and shoot the three and Uguak’s best off the dribble breaking down defenses.
Braden Norris is the point guard for this team, but he’s also another shooter for the Ramblers. Only a sophomore, but he’s made more threes than anyone else on the Ramblers this year and also leads them in assists.
Marquise Kennedy can be a spark plug off the bench and is one of the defensive leaders alongside Lucas Williamson.
The Ramblers are a deep team too, they have 10 players who’ve played in at least 13 games. This is a team that might be better than the Loyola team of 2017-18. They work for and take great shots, they defend and they have a of seniors. I can’t wait to see them play Drake in the middle of February and likely into this year’s tournament.
Loyola (IL) Ramblers 2020-21 Player Stats