If your bracket had No. 11 Loyola-Chicago and No. 9 Kansas State playing for the South Region title in the Elite Eight, then you are either a basketball genius or flat-out lying. The first-ever No. 9 vs. No. 11 matchup in NCAA Tournament history is the first of two games Saturday and it opened as a pick’em in the March Madness odds.
2018 Elite 8: Loyola-Chicago vs. Kansas State March Madness Odds
When: Saturday, 6:09 p.m. ETWhere: Philips Arena, AtlantaTV: TBSRadio: 720 AM (Loyola-Chicago) / 610 AM (Kansas State)Opening March Madness Odds: Pick’em (127)
Mood:📷: @Stevewphoto #OnwardLU #MVCHoops #MarchMadness(Head over to @LoyolaRamblers Instagram story or RamblerMBB Facebook for more photos) pic.twitter.com/WFfqhsMvlm— Loyola Basketball (@RamblersMBB) March 23, 2018
Why Bet on Loyola?Is this team lucky or good? Probably both. Last-second 3-pointer to upset Miami in Round 1. Last-second 2-pointer to upset Tennessee in Round 2. Then on Thursday night, the Missouri Valley Champions upset No. 7 Nevada 69-68. With Loyola clinging to a one-point lead and only 6.3 seconds remaining, Marques Townes nailed the decisive 3-pointer. Townes had scored only a combined 15 points in Loyola’s first two NCAA tournament games. Caleb Martin connected on a triple on the ensuing Wolfpack possession but time would run out as Loyola punched its ticket to the Elite Eight. It’s the first time the program has advanced to the Elite Eight since its national title winning season in 1963.Loyola shot 55.8 percent (29-of-52) from the field, a mark that was bolstered by the Ramblers shooting a blistering 75 percent (18-of-24) during the second half. Townes dished out five assists to go along with his team-high 18 points. Clayton Custer chipped in 15 points and came away with three steals.The win leaves the No. 11th-seeded Ramblers, the biggest surprise in a regional that has lost its top four seeds, one victory from a Final Four appearance. Loyola (31-5) has won three tournament games by a combined four points. That ties the smallest combined win margin by any team to win its first 3 games of a single tournament all time (1981 Saint Joseph’s – 4).Loyola-Chicago is the 2nd team in NCAA Tournament history to win consecutive games by exactly one-point in a single tournament. The other team was also Saint Joseph’s in 1981 (also Round of 32 and Sweet 16). No. 11 seeds are now 4-0 all-time vs. No. 7 seeds in NCAA Tournament history.Loyola hasn’t played a Big 12 teams this season. It played one Power 5 school: winning at No. 5 Florida on Dec. 6, 65-59. K‐State owns a 5‐4 all‐time edge in the series with Loyola-Chicago, which dates back to 1936… This will be the first meeting in the NCAA Tournament and the first on a neutral court. The schools have met five times since 1998, including a sweep of a 2‐for‐1 series in 2009, 2010 and 2011.
Why Bet on Kansas State?The Wildcats weren’t supposed to beat Kentucky on Thursday but upset the SEC Tournament champions 61-58. Xavier Sneed scored 22 points and Barry Brown Jr. came through with the shot of the game, banking one in with his left hand before he sprawled out on the court to give his team a 60-58 lead. Sneed also grabbed nine rebounds, stole two passes and sent out an assist in 30 minutes of hard-fought action. That’s on top of playing excellent defense against Kentucky’s massive front line.K-State shot just 35 percent from the field, attempted 15 fewer free throws than Kentucky and was outrebounded 38-29. Brown, with 13 points, and Green were the only players in double figures, but the KSU defense won out. Kansas State had 24 points off of turnovers, compared with Kentucky’s seven points.Kansas State’s best player, a not-fully-healthy Dean Wade, an All-Big 12 performer, played just eight minutes. Kentucky did not take advantage there. Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, who carried Kentucky with 27 points in a second-round win over Buffalo, finished 2-for-10 shooting from the floor. The team shot just 3-for-12 from beyond the arc. And big man PJ Washington, who had several momentous plays, shot 8-for-20 from the free-throw line.“We lost. I didn’t play good at all,” Washington said. “As you saw, I went 8 for 20 from the line. I feel like if I would have made at least half of those, we would have won the game.” Said KSU coach Bruce Weber: “We had no answer for Washington inside. It was either foul him or not. We did.”Kansas State players said they were upset after Kentucky’s players and coaches left the court before taking part in a postgame handshake. Kentucky coach John Calipari said there was no disrespect meant by his team. Coach Cal said he tried to go shake hands, only to see Kansas State’s players busy on the court celebrating.“They were turned and celebrating, so I walked off,” he explained. “There was no disrespect for anything. It’s just that they were celebrating, and I was happy for them.”K‐State advances to the Elite Eight for the 12th time in school history, including the first time since the 2009‐10 season. The Wildcats also advanced to the Elite Eight in 1951, 1958, 1959, 1961, 1964, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1981 and 1988. This is Weber’s second trip to the Elite Eight (Illinois, 2005) as a head coach.
Latest March Madness Odds Trends
- Loyola-Chicago is 5-0 ATS in its last 5 games
- Loyola-Chicago is 5-0 SU in its last 5 games
- The total has gone UNDER in 5 of Loyola-Chicago’s last 5 games
- Kansas State is 4-2 ATS in its last 6 games
- Kansas State is 5-1 SU in its last 6 games
- The total has gone UNDER in 4 of Kansas State’s last 5 games