The eighth-seeded Loyola-Chicago Ramblers will look to make another deep March Madness run when they meet top-seeded Illinois in a Midwest Region second-round matchup on Sunday. The Ramblers (25-4), who won both the Missouri Valley Conference regular-season (16-2) and tournament championships, last won the MVC Tournament in 2018 and reached the Final Four of the NCAA Tournament. Loyola Chicago was the fourth school to reach the national semifinals as an 11th seed. The Fighting Illini (24-6), who placed second in the Big Ten regular season at 16-4, won the conference tournament crown by defeating Ohio State 91-88 in overtime. The Ramblers advanced to the Round of 32 in the 2021 NCAA Tournament with a 71-60 win over Georgia Tech, while the Fighting Illini defeated Drexel 78-49.
Tip-off from Bankers Life Fieldhouse in Indianapolis is set for 12:10 p.m. ET. Illinois leads the all-time series 12-3. The Fighting Illini are 7.5-point favorites in the latest Loyola Chicago vs. Illinois odds from William Hill Sportsbook, while the over-under for total points scored is set at 133.5. Before making any Illinois vs. Loyola Chicago picks, check out the college basketball predictions and betting advice from the SportsLine Projection Model.
The SportsLine Projection Model simulates every Division I college basketball game 10,000 times. Over the past four-plus years, the proprietary computer model has generated an impressive profit of over $2,500 for $100 players on its top-rated college basketball picks against the spread. It has also returned almost $500 on all top-rated college basketball picks this season. Anyone who has followed it has seen huge returns.
Now, the model has set its sights on Illinois vs. Loyola in the NCAA Tournament 2021. You can head to SportsLine to see its picks. Here are several college basketball odds and trends for Loyola Chicago vs. Illinois:
- Loyola Chicago vs. Illinois spread: Illinois -7.5
- Loyola Chicago vs. Illinois over-under: 133.5 points
- Loyola Chicago vs. Illinois money line: Loyola Chicago +280, Illinois -350
- LOY: Leads Division 1 in scoring defense at 55.5 points per game
- ILL: This is the fourth time the Fighting Illini are a No. 1 seed and the first since 2005
Why Illinois can cover
The Fighting Illini have one of the best tandems in Division 1 with junior guard Ayo Dosunmu and sophomore center Kofi Cockburn, who combine to score more than 38 points per game. Dosunmu leads the team in scoring, averaging 20.6 points per game, to go along with 6.5 rebounds, 5.4 assists and 1.1 steals per game. He is hitting on 49 percent of his field goals, including 38.3 percent from 3-point range, and 78.3 percent from the free throw line. He registered a double-double in the win over Drexel with 17 points and 11 rebounds.
Cockburn is a force, averaging 17.6 points and a team-high 9.5 rebounds and 1.3 blocks per game. He has 28 double-doubles in 60 career games, including 16 this year. He has reached double figures in 28 of 30 games, including a season-high 33 points against Minnesota on Dec. 15. In a Big Ten Tournament semifinal against Iowa, Cockburn poured in 26 points, while grabbing eight rebounds. He had a season-high four blocked shots twice, the first against Penn State on Jan. 19 and at Nebraska on Feb. 12.
Why Loyola can cover
The Ramblers usually make some noise when they reach the NCAA Tournament, winning the title in their first-ever appearance in 1963, reaching the Sweet 16 in 1985 and advancing to the Final Four three years ago. Leading Loyola is senior center Cameron Krutwig, who is averaging 14.9 points, 6.7 rebounds, 2.9 assists, 1.2 blocks and 1.1 steals per game. He is the third Rambler in four seasons to take home the Larry Bird Trophy as the Missouri Valley Conference Player of the Year. In his career, Krutwig has amassed 1,800 points, 922 rebounds and 364 assists.
Another key to the Ramblers' offense is senior guard Lucas Williamson, who blistered Georgia Tech for a season-high 21 points and six rebounds in the win on Friday. Williamson has reached double figures in 12 games, including four of the past five contests. For the season, he is averaging 8.6 points, 3.9 rebounds, 2.2 assists and 1.4 steals per game. He and Krutwig are the winningest four-year players in school history with 98 victories.
How to make Loyola vs. Illinois picks
The model is leaning over on the total, projecting the teams to combine for 142 points. It also says one side of the spread hits in well over 60 percent of simulations. You can only see the pick at SportsLine.
So who wins Loyola vs. Illinois? And which side of the spread hits well over 60 percent of the time? Visit SportsLine right now to see which side of the spread you need to jump on, all from the computer model that has crushed its college basketball picks.