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12/25/2022 4:04 pm  #1

GW vs Loyola Game Thread

The A10 Slate kicks off with GW on the road vs Loyola, A10 newcomer 

The Ramblers come to the A10 off another NCAA trip in 2022, A Sweet 16 in 2021 and a Final 4 run in 2018



12/30/2022 3:37 pm  #2

Re: GW vs Loyola Game Thread

I have some free tickets a few rows up from the GW bench for the Loyola game. Ping me if you're interested in Raising High here in Chicago!


12/30/2022 7:10 pm  #3

Re: GW vs Loyola Game Thread

Line opens at GW +7.5 O/U 138

Difficult to know how to bet w/o Lindo & Clark status updates

Last edited by GW0509 (12/30/2022 7:10 pm)


12/30/2022 8:23 pm  #4

Re: GW vs Loyola Game Thread

Charter to Chicago


12/31/2022 8:23 am  #5

Re: GW vs Loyola Game Thread

Loyola Chicago Ramblers

Date/Time: Sunday December 31st @ 4:00 PM ET at the Joseph J. Gentile Arena in Chicago, IL. The arena seats 4,963 people.
Preseason Ranks: 59th (KenPom), 54th (Bart Torvik), 59th (Sports Illustrated)
2021-22 Record: 25-8, 13-5 (T-2nd in MVC)
2022-23 Projected Record: 14-16, 8-10 (T-9th in A10)

Head-to-Head: First ever meeting against the Ramblers! In Loyola's inaugural season, GW hasn't fared too well against LUC in other sports thus far. GW Soccer and Volleyball combined to go 0-6 against Loyola Chicago in the Fall, with the Ramblers responsible for knocking out both the Men's Soccer and Women's Volleyball teams in the conference tournament.

Offensive Efficiency: 175th (KenPom), 232nd (Bart Torvik)
Defensive Efficiency: 114th (KenPom), 139th (Bart Torvik)
Pace: 323rd (KenPom), 317th (Bart Torvik)
Offensive Shot Quality Rank: 275th
Defensive Shot Quality Rank: 233rd
Rim & 3 Rate: 87% (14th)

Field Goal Percentage (55th)
Effective Field Goal Percentage (57th)
Three Point Percentage Defense (89th)

Steals Per Game (T-256th)
Rebounds Per Game (T-264th)
Bench Points Per Game (274th)
Free Throws Made Per Game (T-278th)
Free Throw Attempts Per Game (280th)
Scoring Offense (286th)
Offensive Rebounds Per Game (T-299th)
Assist Turnover Ratio (322nd)
Fouls Per Game (338th)
Turnover Margin (347th)
Turnovers Per Game (347th)

Key Returning Players:
Braden Norris (RS Senior; Hilliard, OH) 10.4 ppg, 2.8 rpg, 3.9 apg, 1.1 spg; 44% FG, 43% 3-PT, 79% FT
Marquise Kennedy (Senior; Chicago, IL) 7.9 ppg, 4.2 rpg, 2.1 apg, 1.2 spg; 44% FG, 25% 3-PT, 73% FT
Jacob Hutson (Junior; Edina, MN) 5 ppg, 2 rpg; 48% FG, 32% 3-PT, 55% FT

Key Losses:
Lucas Williamson (Graduated; Chicago, IL) 13.7 ppg, 5 rpg, 3.1 apg, 1.4 spg; 44% FG, 39% 3-PT, 73% FT
Ryan Schwieger (Graduated; Matthews, NC) 9.2 ppg, 2.8 rpg, 1.1 apg; 45% FG, 40% 3-PT, 80% FT
Aher Uguak (Graduated; Edmonton, Canada) 8.9 ppg, 4.3 rpg, 1.7 apg; 50% FG, 32% 3-PT, 70% FT
Chris Knight (Graduated; Madison, WI) 7.6 ppg, 4.1 rpg; 63% FG, 73% FT
Tate Hall (Graduated; Greenfield, IN) 5.6 ppg, 4.3 rpg, 1.2 apg; 48% FG, 39% 3-PT, 70% FT

A warm welcome to the newest members of the Atlantic 10, the Loyola Chicago Ramblers! While some people believe the conference should be trying to downsize instead of continuing to add members, I think the move made a lot of sense and it's nice to see commissioner Bernadette McGlade take a proactive approach with conference realignment likely to become a major factor within the next few seasons around all conferences around the country. Loyola by all accounts appears to culturally be a good fit with some other schools in the league and it certainly doesn't hurt to add another major city in Chicago into the fold, especially as a "connector" between some of the more midwestern schools in the conference that may have been feeling more isolated - namely St. Louis.

It's fascinating to think about just how quickly Loyola's fortunes have turned in the past five years. When Porter Moser was first named head coach in 2011, the Ramblers were still members of the Horizon League. This was not a job that Moser turned around overnight. In fact, Loyola won just 7 games total in year #1, including a dismal 1-17 record in conference. If you had joked that Loyola would join the A10 back then in a move to bolster the conference, everyone would call you crazy.

Another thing that is worth pointing out during the Moser era is that Loyola moved to the MVC after his first two years, creating an additional obstacle in his quest of turning the program around. When you think about it, the MVC really took a leap of faith when it came to bringing Loyola into the conference in a move to replace Creighton (keep an eye out for UIC in the next half decade - I'm only half joking!). But Moser kept chipping away, hitting the 20 win mark for the first time in his fourth season with the program. It was just Loyola's second 20+ win season in 30 years. The program hadn't been clicking since the 1980s. As much as I would really love for CC to turn GW around within the next couple years, Loyola's upward trajectory under Moser is a good teaching lesson that sometimes rebuilds take longer than you'd like - incremental improvements are critical.

Loyola would spend an additional two seasons in the "middle tier" of the league before the magical 2017-18 season, which will go down as one of the best in the program's history, if not the best. The Ramblers won 32 games, a program record. The final four squad was the first to truly build a brand for Loyola basketball that has remained ever since - that is, playing hard-nosed defense that prevents the opposition from really getting into the flow of the offense. The Ramblers finished the year ranked 17th in defensive efficiency per KenPom and had the sixth best scoring defense in the nation giving up just 62.6 points a game. Loyola wasn't an exclusive "no-middle" defense team (like a Texas Tech), where easy looks near the rim are largely tough to come by as teams are lured to driving towards the sidelines along the perimeter but the Ramblers were a very disciplined team in general that rarely made mental mistakes.

By the time Porter Moser packed his bags for Oklahoma (free Joe!), Loyola had won 99 games in his last four years. That says a lot about where the program was at - in terms of culture, players buying in, and being able to build something that is sustainable beyond just a final four run that some would call a "fluke" (I mean really any long NCAA tournament runs are somewhat luck-based regardless of team/level).

It was thus a no-brainer for Loyola to promote from within to keep the culture going. Sliding over to the head coaching seat was Drew Valentine, who spent four years under Moser orchestrating everything that helped the Ramblers win during that span. Valentine - who is one of the youngest coaches in the country at just 31 years old - played collegiately at Oakland where he set a number of rebounding records with the school. With several seniors returning to the program last year, it's not necessarily a surprise that Loyola won another 25 games and qualified for their third NCAA tournament in the past five years.

The question mark for Valentine was going to be what happens coming into the 2022-23 season. In addition to changing conferences (at least Moser got two years in the Horizon before moving up to the MVC!) Loyola had to deal with the graduation of five players who averaged over 5 points a game on the squad. In many ways, I think the hype the Ramblers got coming into the year was unfair to them. This was always going to be a rebuilding year of sorts. Davidson taking the conference by storm when they joined probably had a role to play in Loyola's preseason projection (and maybe that's true for the A10 in general - many squads were rebuilding this year) but it's never an easy task to replace so much production in a single offseason. Lucas Williamson in particular was such a force on both sides of the ball. The first-team all-MVC selection shot nearly 40% from 3 and it's no surprise that he took home Defensive MVP in the MVC last year as he showed time and again the ability to lock down a team's best offensive weapon. Aher Uguak also made the all-defensive team in the league and Chris Knight was an instant impact guy coming from Dartmouth for his graduate year finishing the year on the all-newcomer list. Throw in two more glue guys who could scorch the net in Ryan Schwieger (40% from 3) and Tate Hall (39% from 3) and that's just a major loss to overcome.

If there was some good news for the Ramblers coming into the year, it was that two of their key returners from last year were in their backcourt - a position where experience and depth is vital. Braden Norris and Marquise Kennedy may not have the same length that Williamson offered on last year's squad, but the duo can get it done on both sides of the ball. Norris, a third-team all-MVC selection last year, is the main facilitator in the halfcourt. He had a stellar 1.8 assist to turnover ratio last year and canned an impressive 43% of his threes from distance, the best mark on the squad. He also generated 35 steals on the team, second best behind Williamson. Kennedy will flank Norris in the backcourt. On paper, this may give Loyola a disadvantage based on height but Kennedy more than makes up for it with how he plays. He was second in steals per game and was an absolute pest of an on-ball defender. However, this year he has been counted on to play a larger role on offense. Kennedy went just 11/44 from three last year, a mark that had to improve this year as a go-to guy within the flow of the offense. To his credit, he is 17/31 this year (55%).

In the frontcourt, center Jacob Hutson and forwards Tom Welch and Saint Thomas return. Hutson, a former GW target and Minnesota native, originally walked on to the program but was later given a scholarship. He is a versatile offensive weapon who can carve out space down low and stretch out to the three point line (6/19 from distance last year). Hutson is by far the tallest player on the roster as Welch is more of a 4 and Thomas plays like more of a wing with how he operates. He missed Loyola's last game due to illness and is questionable for Saturday. Welch is a highly efficient finisher near the rim (81% from the floor on the year - seems like Hunter's true competition in the FG% category from within the conference!) but will be counted on to add more rebounding production this season. On a team with many seniors, Thomas didn't get the chance to really showcase his skills but he has the potential to be Loyola's most dynamic player on the floor long-term. A 3-star prospect from Omaha, it feels like a missed opportunity from an NIL standpoint that Thomas didn't end up at St. Thomas (MN), a school that recently transitioned up to D1 from the D3 ranks and is having quite a bit of success thus far for a still transitioning school.

From the transfer portal, Valentine brought in four guys from various levels:

Philip Alston, a transfer from D2 California (PA), paces the team in scoring, rebounding, and blocks. While a bit undersized for a post player, Alston is able to play bigger than his height and does a good job being able to contest shots. He doesn't shoot a ton of threes, but is 8/16 on the year - efficiency he didn't have with the Vulcans in previous seasons despite averaging 21 ppg last season in D2. Overall, he has been their best get by far from the portal production-wise.

Bryce Golden (Butler) is another option for them up front. If the last name sounds familiar, it's because he's the brother of Grant, who annoyed us for many years at Richmond. GW also offered him out of HS. Bryce isn't the scorer Grant is, but is still good for a bucket here and there down low when he sees minutes. I'm a bit surprised he hasn't been a bigger factor thus far.

Sheldon Edwards (Valparaiso) was a guy that caught Valentine's eye when Loyola faced him in the MVC last year. His two best scoring performances in conference came against LUC, as he poured in 20 and 23 points in the two matchups. When he's on, Edwards can be tough to slow down given his scoring prowess. However, he's another guy who has struggled in a new environment thus far. We will want to make sure we aren't the team that gets him going.

Jeameril Wilson (Lehigh) provides instant offense off the bench. He was a career 41% three point shooter at Lehigh but I guess hasn't been able to do enough defensively to earn more playing time. Wilson will likely only play in garbage time.

Finally, Loyola brought in a couple true freshmen and an additional player who redshirted last year. Ben Schwieger (no relation to Ryan from last year's squad from what I can tell) is the redshirt guy who has been one of the brighter spots for Loyola so far. He's someone who is willing to make the extra pass but can knock down the open shot when needed (third in made threes on the squad). It's worth mentioning he's a dismal 10/22 from the FT line, so he's a guy to target in a close game.

Jayden Dawson and Jalen Quinn provide depth in the backcourt. Dawson has been the more polished player of the two offensively in the early going. He has made 42% of his threes, albeit on a small sample size (8/19). Quinn is more of a downhill operator as he has taken just four threes on the year and has missed all of them. Both players provide more positional size compared to Norris/Kennedy which helps defensively but are obviously still raw. Dawson and Quinn are questionable for the game due to illness.

As GW0509 mentioned above, placing any "expectations" on this game is very much dependent on the status of EJ and Ricky. If they do play hopefully we are able to cover the spread. If they are both out (or really even if one of them is sidelined) I don't know how there can be any expectations at all. Perhaps a low possession game may help - Loyola is anyways a very slow paced team offensively. It also doesn't hurt that the Ramblers don't really rebound on the offensive end, can't turn teams over, foul a lot, cough up the ball frequently, and often settle for jumpers. While Loyola wasn't necessarily great during OOC play, they do have some momentum coming into this one and we haven't been good in true road settings.

Projected Score: Loyola Chicago 70, GW 66. 31% chance to win (Bart Torvik). ESPN gives us a 21.2% chance to open conference play with a W. Loyola is an eight point home favorite.


12/31/2022 10:49 am  #6

Re: GW vs Loyola Game Thread

Team posted a pic of Ricky warming up so hopefully that is good news


12/31/2022 3:07 pm  #7

Re: GW vs Loyola Game Thread

EJ in a boot


12/31/2022 3:51 pm  #8

Re: GW vs Loyola Game Thread



12/31/2022 4:12 pm  #9

Re: GW vs Loyola Game Thread

"George Washington, one of the best teams in the country for attacking the rim."


12/31/2022 4:22 pm  #10

Re: GW vs Loyola Game Thread

According to Loyola's announcers, CC was busy in the portal this summer landing Bishop from LSU and Adams from UConn.


12/31/2022 4:24 pm  #11

Re: GW vs Loyola Game Thread

Noted that.


12/31/2022 4:28 pm  #12

Re: GW vs Loyola Game Thread

Now Adams transferred from K State


12/31/2022 4:30 pm  #13

Re: GW vs Loyola Game Thread

Tide really turned as
Noel and especially Amir came in. a
Amir's D  making a difference.


12/31/2022 5:00 pm  #14

Re: GW vs Loyola Game Thread

Amazing how much better we look when the shots are falling. Hard to see us keeeping it up for 40, but they are playing with a ton of confidence.


12/31/2022 5:07 pm  #15

Re: GW vs Loyola Game Thread

Taking a deep breath every time someone comes near Ricky.


12/31/2022 5:09 pm  #16

Re: GW vs Loyola Game Thread

Free Quebec wrote:

Amazing how much better we look when the shots are falling. Hard to see us keeeping it up for 40, but they are playing with a ton of confidence.

I realize this is the biggest "no duh" point but early confidence is the #1 tell for if we have a chance at a win or not.

Best games this season have been UNH, Coppin, SC, and WSU.  All games where early on we looked confident on offense and played good defense.


12/31/2022 5:41 pm  #17

Re: GW vs Loyola Game Thread

Just turned on game. Seems we still have no idea how to rebound . Can't win games when you cant keep people off of your basket. 


12/31/2022 5:44 pm  #18

Re: GW vs Loyola Game Thread

We just keep making shots. Loyola D has been week, but when Ricky Lindo fumbles the ball and hits a step back three, you know it’s just our day.


12/31/2022 5:46 pm  #19

Re: GW vs Loyola Game Thread

Tennessee Colonial wrote:

Just turned on game. Seems we still have no idea how to rebound . Can't win games when you cant keep people off of your basket. 

We are out-rebounding them by 4.  You are the worst - nothing to say about us winning or anything good, but rip them for something we’ve done well today.


12/31/2022 6:01 pm  #20

Re: GW vs Loyola Game Thread

That's it. Great


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