Wichita State vs. Loyola (IL) February 20 Free Pick

By College Basketball

It’s tough to image a 27-0 team that’s undervalued in the market place. But there’s a lot that’s tough to imagine about what Gregg Marshall has done with his program in the last three years. After a successful fade last week, it’s time to get back aboard the covering machine.

Free Pick

Loyola Illinois stinks. The Ramblers are last in the Missouri Valley in their first year affiliated with the conference. And they’ll get a lot more action than one might assume.

Loyola Illinois has actually been pretty tough at home all year – especially recently. Its home conference games have gmincluded a blowout win vs. Missouri State, an overtime win against Northern Iowa and a double-digit win against Illinois State the last time out. Now the Ramblers get set to give everything they have left against a Shocker team carrying an ever-growing target on its back. Taking the 13.5 points doesn’t seem like a bad idea. The Ramblers are pesky led by two perimeter scorers. Milton Doyle is a stand-out freshman for the youngest team in the country. But Fred Van Vleet is as strong a wall as any rookie wall working against Doyle. And both going at the same time spell trouble for Doyle and his entire offense.

Wednesday night very well might be another case of a team giving too much effort, too early against Wichita State. And the Ramblers may run themselves into the floor at the 30 minute mark. The Shockers have mastered the brutal kill by now – outlasting opponents until they eventually just fall dead with somewhere between 5-10 minutes to go. The better teams have lasted 35 minutes and the inferiors only make it an exact three-quarters of the way.  The Ramblers don’t have any business standing up against Wichita State’s run at history.

The “play nasty” crew has been through too much to let this run slip away now. Gregg Marshall’s team will, as always come in with a plan. Look for the Shockers to play with the Ramb’s until they fall flat on their own home floor. The excitement of playing at home will ultimately cause Loyola to sprint at a pace it can’t sustain. And the Shockers not only win another game, but cover too.

Free Pick: Wichita State -13.5 (I may even recommend waiting for a second half play here)

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