The Loyola Ramblers and the Auburn Tigers meet Thursday in college basketball action from Imperial Arena. Loyola is 4-1 on the season so far. The Ramblers took their first loss of the year by two points against Michigan State in their last outing. As for Auburn, they took their first loss of the year against UConn on Wednesday. Check back all season long for free college basketball picks at Sports Chat Place.
Loyola got off to a nice start over their first four games, winning each by double-digits. The Ramblers took out Coppin State 103-45, then Florida Gulf Coast 89-77. After that it was wins over Chicago State 92-56 and UCI 80-63.
In the Wednesday game versus Michigan State, Loyola had a 28-23 lead at the break. The Ramblers were outscored 40-33 from there in a tough 63-61 defeat. Lucas Williamson was the only team player in double-figures with 16 points and eight rebounds.
Over on the Auburn side, everything went well across their first couple of games. The Tigers took out Morehead State 77-54 and LA-Monroe 93-65. Game three was tighter versus South Florida 58-52, but still a victory.
In Wednesday’s matchup versus UConn, the Tigers fell behind 45-34 at halftime but fought back to force an OT period. Auburn ended up losing 115-109 in double overtime. KD Johnson led the way on 27 points, and Walker Kessler doubled up with 14 points and 10 boards.
PICK: I’m leaning toward Loyola in this one. The Ramblers had a spotty shooting day against Michigan State, posting 37.3 percent from the floor and 7-of-20 (35 percent) from 3-point range. Loyola stayed pretty strong on the boards however, with a slim 36-34 rebounding deficit. The Spartans simply played better in the second half.
As for Auburn, they were the victims of a bad half themselves versus UConn. The Tigers shot 43.2 percent from the field and were out-rebounded 48-35. I’m not sure how well Auburn will bounce back in this one, so I’m probably staying away.