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No. 12 Oregon State vs. No. 8 Loyola Chicago preview, picks for Sweet 16 round of 2021 NCAA Tournament

The Oregon State Beavers and Loyola Chicago Ramblers are set to meet at Bankers Life Fieldhouse for the Sweet 16 round of the 2021 NCAA Tournament. We’ve got everything you need on both teams ahead of the game here.

Loyola Ramblers center Cameron Krutwig shoots against the Illinois Fighting Illini during the second half in the second round of the 2021 NCAA Tournament at Bankers Life Fieldhouse. Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports

Update: Saturday, March 27 9:45 a.m. Here are the updated bet splits from DraftKings Sportsbook for Oregon State vs. Loyola Chicago:

Oregon State: +7 (66% of handle, 61% of bets)
Loyola Chicago: -7 (34% of handle, 39% of bets)

The No. 8 seed Loyola Chicago Ramblers will be back in the Sweet 16 for the second time in three NCAA Tournaments when they take on the Pac-12 champion No. 12 seed Oregon State Beavers in a Midwest Region battle.

Tip-off is scheduled for Saturday, March 27th at 2:40 p.m. on CBS, and the game will be at the home of the Indiana Pacers, Bankers Life Fieldhouse.

No. 12 Oregon State: 19-12 (10-10 Pac-12)

First Round: Defeated No. 5 Tennessee 70-56
Second Round: Defeated No. 4 Oklahoma State 80-70
KenPom rating: 54 Overall, 44 Offense, 76 Defense
Leading scorer: Ethan Thompson (15.3 ppg)
Key stat: The Beavers have defeated five straight teams in the Top 35 of KenPom, and a loss in any of them would have ended their season.

If you see someone from Oregon State basketball, feel free to give them a light shove so they realize they’re still alive and this is all real. Because this has been an unforgettable March, with the latest win a 80-70 triumph over the No. 4 Oklahoma State Cowboys and likely No. 1 overall NBA Draft selection Cade Cunningham. Ethan Thompson had 26 points and seven rebounds in the win, including a remarkable 15-16 from the free throw line.

What Oregon State has figured out the last five games is how to shoot the ball. They’ve made more than 40% of their three-pointers in all of them except against OK State, and had a different leadings scorer in each of the last four. The balance and flow of their offense is there, and the defense is doing enough to force teams into bad shots without turnovers.

They’ll face one of the best defensive teams in America on Saturday, so how they shoot the ball off screens and penetration will be critical.

No. 8 Loyola Chicago: 26-4 (16-2 MVC)

First Round: Defeated No. 9 Georgia Tech 71-60
Second Round: Defeated No. 1 Illinois 71-58
KenPom rating: 7 Overall, 35 Offense, 1 Defense
Leading scorer: Cameron Krutwig (14.9 ppg)
Key stat: The Ramblers are dishing out 15.9 assists per game, good for 42nd in the nation.

The No. 8 seed Ramblers are going back to the Sweet 16 after defeating the No. 1 seed Fighting Illini 71-58 on Sunday. Loyola Chicago has now won eight-straight games, while holding their first two opponents in the NCAA Tournament to 59 points per game.

The Ramblers received outstanding performances from Cameron Krutwig and Lucas Williamson, who outplayed Illini starts Kofi Cockburn and Ayo Dosunmu. Krutwig produced a team-high 19 points (9-18 FG), 12 rebounds, five assists, and four steals. Meanwhile, Williamson had 14 points on 5-of-8 shooting from the field. For Illinois, Cockburn had 21 points and nine rebounds, while Ayo Dosunmu recorded nine points (4-10 FG) and six turnovers.

March Madness Odds from DraftKings Sportsbook

Spread: Loyola Chicago -7
Total: 127
Moneyline: Oregon State +255, Loyola Chicago -315

The Pick

Loyola -7

Let us stipulate there’s not a team in the world on a more fun streak than the Beavers, but they’re running into a brick wall on Saturday. Loyola took one of the most efficient offenses in college basketball and tied them in knots. They also got bucket after bucket in multiple ways; post-ups, penetration, and outside shooting. They knocked off a No. 1 seed in the NCAA Tournament with ease, and were just 15-22 from the free throw line while making just four three-pointers.

This team is more than just Cameron Krutwig and friends: They can really play 1-5, and defend as a unit better than any team in America. It’s been so fun to watch the Beavers, btu they’ll head home to some banners in Corvallis after this one.

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