On Friday the Loyola-Chicago Ramblers will play the Ohio State Buckeyes at the PPG Paints Arena in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania in the first round of the South Region of the NCAA tournament. Loyola-Chicago finished the regular season 25-7 overall and 13-5 in Missouri Valley Conference play. The Ramblers defeated the Drake Bulldogs 64-58 to win the MVC Tournament. Loyola-Chicago has won each of its last three and five of the last six.
Lucas Williamson is leading Loyola-Chicago in scoring and rebounding with averages of 14.0 points and 5.0 rebounds per game, while Braden Norris is the second leading scorer and the leader in assists with averages of 10.3 points and 3.9 assists per game. The Ramblers have only two players averaging double-figures in scoring and as a team are scoring an average of 73.8 points per game.
Ohio State completed its regular season 19-11 overall and 12-8 in Big Ten play. The Buckeyes were defeated by the Penn State Nittany Lions 71-68 in the second round of the Big Ten tournament last Thursday. The leading scorer for Ohio State was EJ Liddell with 25 points. The Buckeyes squandered an 11 point second-half lead in the loss. Ohio State has lost two straight and four out of the last five.
EJ Liddell is leading Ohio State in scoring and rebounding with averages of 19.6 points and 7.9 rebounds per game, while Jamari Wheeler is the leader in assists with an average of 3.0 assists per game. Malaki Branham is the second leading scorer with an average of 13.3 points per game and one of just two players for Ohio State averaging double-figures in scoring. The Buckeyes are scoring an average of 73.8 points per game.