March Madness

Oregon State vs. Loyola: First Thoughts on the Ramblers' Sweet 16 Matchup

NBCUniversal Media, LLC

The Loyola Ramblers have had an interesting road through the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament so far, with wins over the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets and Illinois Fighting Illini, and now we know when they will face their next test.

The Ramblers, who are back in the Sweet 16 for the first time since 2018, will try to move even further into the tournament when they face the Oregon State Beavers on Saturday afternoon.

The game will tip off at 1:40 p.m. Central time, and the contest will air on CBS as the Ramblers attempt to punch their ticket into the Elite Eight.

If the Ramblers were to beat the Beavers on Saturday, they would then face the winner of the Houston-Syracuse game in the Elite Eight, with a Midwest Regional championship and a berth in the Final Four on the line.

Loyola was given the eighth seed in the Midwest Region to start the tournament, but they have quickly proven that they belong in the conversation as one of the top teams in the country, beating Georgia Tech with relative ease and then putting on a defensive clinic against top-seeded Illinois, preventing the Illini from leading at any point in the game and finishing off a 13-point victory on Sunday afternoon.

Cameron Krutwig, the senior center who was on the 2018 squad that reached the Final Four, scored 19 points and hauled down 12 rebounds against Illinois. He also had five assists and four steals, leading the Ramblers in virtually every important statistic in the game.

Lucas Williamson has also been off to a strong start in the tournament, with 14 points and a pair of rebounds to his credit in the win over Illinois. He also had a big game against Georgia Tech, leading the Ramblers with 21 points in that victory.

Marquise Kennedy was a key asset off the bench for Loyola in the win over Illinois, with 14 points, three rebounds, two steals and two blocks in the victory.

While Illinois posed a big challenge to Loyola’s defense in the paint, Oregon State can shoot the ball extremely well from beyond the arc, something that they did in their tournament-opening win over Tennessee. The Pac 12 Tournament champions buried 10 three-pointers in the game, with Jarod Lucas hitting four and Zach Reichle hitting three in the victory.

In their second round win over Oklahoma State Sunday, Beavers guard Ethan Thompson stole the show, with 26 points and seven rebounds to his credit. He also had a remarkable game from the free throw line, making 15-of-16 shots from the charity stripe en route to the win.

Maurice Calloo had a strong game for the Beavers off of the bench, with three three-point field goals as he scored 15 points and hauled down five rebounds.

As a team, Oregon State finished the season on a roll, with wins in six of their last seven games, including victories over three teams that ultimately made the NCAA Tournament. Those wins over Oregon, UCLA and Colorado landed Oregon State the Pac 12 Tournament crown, their first tournament triumph in school history.

Tournament MVP Warith Alatishe has gotten off to a slow start in the NCAA Tournament, with just 10 points to his credit, but he has hauled down 21 rebounds in two games, and he could pose a bit of a matchup challenge to the Ramblers on Saturday.

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