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2/06/2024 10:31 pm  #1

GW vs Loyola Chicago Game

Next up GW takes on Loyola Chicago 

GW will seek to snap out of a rough patch of mid-season games and get back to the win column

Does GW win and improve to 15-8??  Predicted line??


2/07/2024 11:57 am  #2

Re: GW vs Loyola Chicago Game

I bet we lose and I hope it's by less than 25 

Last edited by Alum '04 (2/07/2024 4:14 pm)


2/09/2024 2:22 am  #3

Re: GW vs Loyola Chicago Game

Loyola Chicago Ramblers

Date: Saturday February 10th, 2024
Time: 12:00 PM ET
Venue: Charles E. Smith Center
TV: Monumental Sports Network / ESPN+
Analytic Ranks: 110th (KenPom), 97th (EvanMiya), 112th (Haslametrics)
NET Ranking: 107th
2022-23 Record: 10-21, 4-14 (15th in A10)
2023-24 Projected Record: 20-11, 12-6 (3rd in A10)

Head-to-Head: 3-3. GW has won three of the past four meetings, although the first five meetings all came before 1940. The Buff & Blue topped the Ramblers 48-33 in the last home meeting under coach William Reinhart, one of three games the team played against Loyola during the 1937-38 season. GW finished that year 13-4.

Last year's 97-87 victory in Chicago was GW's best offensive showing all year. The good guys had an effective field goal percentage of 74, made ten threes, and went an impressive 23/25 from the FT line. It didn't hurt that Loyola's students were still on break at the time. If there was a critique, it was that the Ramblers only coughed the ball up 10 times all game in a year where they had significant issues holding on to the ball. At the end of the day though the goal of last year's team was to outscore the competition and they were able to do just that just six days removed from a poor showing in Hawaii.

GW went just seven players deep for the game, but every one scored. The scoring effort was led by JB's 40 point outburst, one of two games last season where he topped the 40 point mark. It sure would be nice to see that JB resurface before the season ends. I know it's arguably more important to grow the young guys but JB has been a no show as of late. Anyways, you just knew it was JB's night when he knocked down several deep threes and added seven assists on top of that:

BA added 19 points and 5 assists of his own with only two misses in nine attempts and Ricky pitched in 13 points and 6 rebounds, including a couple of corner three point daggers at the end of the shot clock. Again, when Lindo was making threes like that you knew it was just GW's night.

Offensive Efficiency: 189th (KenPom), 158th (EvanMiya), 179th (Haslametrics)
Defensive Efficiency: 58th (KenPom), 51st (EvanMiya), 67th (Haslametrics)
Pace: 115th (KenPom), 133rd (EvanMiya), 126th (Haslametrics)
Roster Rank: 108th (EvanMiya)
Offensive Shot Quality Rank: 177th
Defensive Shot Quality Rank: 85th
Rim & 3 Rate: 86% (59th)

Strengths (2023-24 Season):
Assists Per Game - 16.7 APG (26th)
Opponent Field Goals Made Per Game - 22.9 FGM (T-26th)
Opponent Field Goal Percentage - 40.2% (26th)
Blocks Per Game - 4.9 BPG (T-36th)
Defensive Rebounds Per Game - 27.4 DRPG (46th)
3-PT Field Goal Percentage - 36.1% (71st)
Opponent Assists Per Game - 11.4 APG (71st)
Opponent Points Per Game - 67.7 PPG (79th)
Opponent Offensive Rebounds Per Game - 9.1 ORPG (82nd)
Field Goal Percentage - 46.4% (T-88th)
3-PT Field Goals Made Per Game - 8.4 3PM (T-94th)
Opponent Field Goals Attempted Per Game - 56.9 FGA (T-106th)
Opponent 3-PT Field Goals Attempted Per Game - 20.5 3PA (T-110th)
Opponent Rebounds Per Game - 33.6 RPG (T-114th)

Weaknesses (2023-24 Season):
Opponent Free Throws Made Per Game - 14.6 FTM (T-264th)
Opponent Free Throws Attempted Per Game - 20.6 FTA (272nd)
Free Throw Percentage - 69.1% (275th)
Field Goals Attempted Per Game - 56.6 FGA (T-289th)
Offensive Rebounds Per Game - 8.3 ORPG (T-319th)
Opponent 3-PT Field Goal Percentage - 35.9% (323rd)
Personal Fouls Per Game - 19.4 PF/G (331st)

Key Returning Players:
Philip Alston (Senior; Columbus, OH) - 14.6 ppg, 5.6 rpg, 1 apg, 1.1 bpg; 47% FG, 40% 3-PT, 69% FT per 27.5 mpg
      Last Season @ Loyola: 21 points, 6 rebounds, 1 steal; 8-14 FG, 0-1 3-PT, 5-6 FT in 24 minutes.

Braden Norris (Graduate Student; Hilliard, OH) - 10.9 ppg, 2.6 rpg, 4 apg, 1.1 spg; 42% FG, 36% 3-PT, 77% FT per 37.3 mpg
      Last Season @ Loyola: 11 points, 1 rebound, 4 assists, 1 steal; 4-12 FG, 3-10 3-PT in 40 minutes.

Ben Schwieger (RS Sophomore; Aurora, IL) - 9.2 ppg, 3.8 rpg, 2.1 apg; 45% FG, 35% 3-PT, 61% FT per 29.5 mpg
      Last Season @ Loyola: 14 points, 1 rebound, 2 assists; 6-13 FG, 2-6 3-PT in 39 minutes.

Tom Welch (Graduate Student; Naperville, IL) - 7 ppg, 4.2 rpg, 1.5 apg; 66% FG, 21% 3-PT, 69% FT per 21.8 mpg
      Last Season @ Loyola: 2 points, 7 rebounds, 4 assists, 2 steals; 1-3 FG, 0-1 FT in 29 minutes.

Sheldon Edwards (Senior; West Palm Beach, FL) - 5 ppg, 1.8 rpg; 37% FG, 27% 3-PT, 91% FT per 11.6 mpg
      Last Season @ Loyola: DNP

Key Losses:
Marquise Kennedy (Transferred to UIC; Chicago, IL) - 7.5 ppg, 3.2 rpg, 1.5 apg, 1.1 spg; 45% FG, 35% 3-PT, 67% FT per 24.1 mpg
Bryce Golden (Graduated; Richmond, VA) - 5.7 ppg, 3 rpg; 52% FG, 33% 3-PT, 72% FT per 13.8 mpg (The Goldens are finally gone!!)

Key Transfers:
Dame Adelekun (Graduate Student transfer from Dartmouth; Gastonia, NC) - 13.8 ppg, 7.2 rpg, 2.5 apg, 2 bpg; 56% FG, 41% 3-PT, 62% FT per 23.3 mpg
Greg Dolan (Graduate Student transfer from Cornell; Williamsville, NY) - 13.3 ppg, 3.6 rpg, 3.5 apg, 1.6 spg; 48% FG, 43% 3-PT, 74% FT per 29.6 mpg

Desmond Watson (Junior transfer from Davidson; Columbus, OH) - 9.4 ppg, 3.8 rpg, 1.1 apg; 41% FG, 27% 3-PT, 75% FT per 29.1 mpg
       Last Season @ Davidson: 4 points, 1 rebound; 1-6 FG, 0-2 3-PT, 2-2 FT in 27 minutes.

Patrick Mwamba (Graduate Student transfer from Oral Roberts/UT-Arlington; Kinshasa, DRC) - 7.9 ppg, 5.4 rpg; 49% FG, 38% 3-PT, 59% FT per 21.1 mpg

Drew Valentine's Ramblers did not get a lot of love from the Atlantic 10 in their inaugural year in the conference. LUC was picked fourth in last year's preseason poll but finished the year in the cellar. They did notably knock off a decent Clemson squad in December, but being blown out by a 5 win Tulsa squad perhaps showed early signs that the team wasn't going to be able to meet expectations in their promotion to the A10.

Sure the Atlantic 10 has bigger players (and better athletes overall) than the MVC but to be honest Loyola would have struggled in most leagues with the way they played on both sides of the ball. Loyola's 4-14 showing in conference play was their worst since...their inaugural year in the Missouri Valley back in 2013-14. The loss of Lucas Williamson to graduation was apparent as the Ramblers seemingly lacked a leader on defense.

LUC's 262nd rank in defensive efficiency was their worst ever finish on that side of the ball in the KenPom era (data going back to 1997). Opponents were able to penetrate their perimeter shell without much difficulty and Loyola could not keep teams off the FT line. If you told Rambler fans that their team would be bottom 60 in defensive free throw rate prior to last season, they would have likely laughed given just how well Moser's stellar squads defended without fouling. In fact, Loyola ranked top 15 in that category from 2018 to 2021.

The Ramblers did not fare too much better on the offensive end. While Loyola was able to shoot nearly 55% from inside the arc (their seventh straight top 50 finish in two-point field goal percentage) and continued to move the ball well (their seventh straight top 100 finish in assist percentage) the shooting became spotty away from the basket and the Ramblers struggled all year to hold on to the ball. They turned the ball on average 22 times per 100 plays, which ranked 350th nationally. For a team that already doesn't crash the glass on the offensive end for second chance opportunities, losing possessions without even attempting a shot was crushing at times. Valentine made it clear that he wanted Loyola to play a bit more uptempo compared to how the team operated under Moser and the tail end of Jim Whitesell's tenure but coughing the ball up at alarming rates didn't seem to make that a good idea.

Naturally, there were questions as to whether Valentine had what it takes to succeed long-term at Loyola Chicago. He successfully guided the 2022 squad to the NCAA tournament, but was it just a product of the talent he inherited? Valentine was quick to point out the number of newcomers on last year's squad in an Athletic article a year ago as well as that lack of knowledge with regards to opposing team tendencies in a new league. In the Fall 2023 issue of the Loyola Magazine, Valentine also seemed to indicate that there was disconnect between coaches and players last year.

By all accounts, it seemed silly to write off the Ramblers after just a single year in the league. Valentine is still figuring things out as a head coach, and he's just 32 years old. If the 2021-22 season was any indication, he didn't just "forget how to coach" as a certain poster around here likes to say. The Loyola administration is also committed to basketball (and athletics in general). With a better understanding of the league, Valentine could bring in better fits and the team could return to its winning ways.

That very much seems to be the case this year. Many wrote Loyola off, but as Geno Smith famously said a year ago, they didn't write back. Unless they were facing a squad from the AAC, the Ramblers were generally very competitive if not better. LUC went 0-3 against teams from the American (FAU, Tulsa, South Florida) by an average margin of 12.3 points. They did also drop a game to nationally ranked Creighton and like us to rival UIC (former Rambler Marquise Kennedy had 10 points in that contest; talk about a team that looked pretty good OOC only to fall off a cliff during conference play...) but they managed to knock off a pesky Boston College team. Wednesday's win at Mason marked Loyola's fourth three game winning streak of the year as the Ramblers moved to 8-2 in conference play.

Continuity certainly helps here, as Loyola returns seven of their top nine scorers from last year. That includes both double figure scorers in former D2 player Philip Alston and veteran Braden Norris.

Alston has had quite the collegiate basketball journey. In fact, his career almost ended before it started. Four years ago, Alston went into cardiac arrest during a scrimmage while still at D2 California (PA). What went untreated for years was an ulcer on his digestive tract which hampered how much blood was pumping to his heart and in general limiting his explosiveness as a player. CBS News recently came out with a nice piece a few days back on this. Once treated, he had an All-American season in the D2 ranks before becoming one of the better players in the A10.

Norris meanwhile enters his fourth year with the program after starting his career at Oakland back in 2018. He's a career 42% three point shooter but shot a career worst 36% last year. Norris is more than just a shooter though as he has an assist to turnover ratio of over 2 and is a pesky on-ball defender. It's key to have experience in CBB, and Norris certainly has that in spades. Saturday will mark his 151st career game and 147th starting.

Speaking of experience, graduate student Tom Welch will play in his 139th game in a couple days. Welch is the definition of a low-usage player but he is plenty efficient on his chances. He shot nearly 66% from the field last year but didn't take nearly enough shots to qualify. If he had, that would have ranked seventh nationally. Welch's minutes have gone down this year as he plays more of a reserve role from off the bench but he can still convert on a couple of baskets here and there when his number is called. He didn't play on Wednesday.

Former Valparaiso guard Sheldon Edwards only adds to the offensive firepower Valentine can throw out there when the team needs a bucket. Edwards did not play in last year's game (I think he was just a DNP-coach's decision but he was nursing a thumb injury last November) and has generally been an afterthought in the rotation. That is, until fellow guard Jayden Dawson has been limited by an ankle injury. Edwards responded with a 27 point, 5 steal performance with six made threes against the Patriots. That was a career high in points - hopefully we don't let him get to another level on Saturday.

Ben Schwieger, Dawson, and Jalen Quinn also return after playing their first season of CBB last year.

Schwieger made the all-rookie team last year after previously redshirting a year. He was second on the team in made threes and converted at a near 35% clip from distance. Schwieger was a bit sloppy with ball handling at times but I personally did not expect him to become an afterthought in the rotation this year. It wouldn't be surprising to see him transfer out after the season given his lack of playing time. He can certainly make an impact in the MVC.

Dawson returned to action after missing the previous two games with injury. He shoots over 41% from deep and has taken nearly 64% of his attempts from there. When healthy, he is capable of some big time shooting performances. In LUC's loss to Tulsa earlier in the year, Dawson made eight threes. He has also improved in year 2 as a defender and has the frame to play either guard spot on the floor.

Quinn shot 36% from 3 himself last year but his shooting has taken a nosedive this year (just 19% from 3), he isn't the most menacing defender, and he also isn't nearly as steady of a ballhandler as Dawson. He found himself in foul trouble fairly quickly on Wednesday, picking up four fouls in just six minutes of action.

Finally, five newcomers currently see run for this year's Ramblers. Four come from the transfer portal, while Miles Rubin is the only true freshman on the roster.

Rubin is a local product for Loyola who played at Simeon (what's DJ Williams up to nowadays?) He was a three star prospect out of HS who had the reputation of being a good shot blocker. That has definitely held up this year. Believe it or not, Rubin actually ranks second nationally in block percentage but doesn't play enough minutes to be among the block leaders nationally. If he did, he would probably be ahead of Stretch who sits ninth currently in that category. Rubin also rebounds at a good rate and makes nearly 65% of his attempts from the field, mostly from near the hoop (he's only taken four threes all year and has missed all of them). His brother Wes plays for Northern Iowa.

The aforementioned transfers entering the fold are Davidson transfer Desmond Watson, Dartmouth transfer Dame Adelekun, Cornell transfer Greg Dolan, and Oral Roberts/UT-Arlington transfer Patrick Mwamba.

Watson stood out athletically at Davidson but never really seemed to fit within the offense. A return to the midwest has definitely helped this year. He's pretty much improved his numbers across the board, leading the team in points on the year (13.3 ppg) while shooting 43% from deep (up from 27% last year - crazy that Valentine was able to unlock that aspect of his game and not McKillop). Watson has already made more than twice as many threes as he did last year and there's still half of conference play to go. The volume is there for him to put up points, as he's only finished below 10 points six times all season.

Adelekun was a second-team all-Ivy selection last year who did dang near everything for a below average Dartmouth squad. He was first (points, rebounds, blocks) or second (assists, steals) in pretty much every statistical category. It certainly doesn't hurt to add a guy who shot 56% from the field, 41% from 3 (granted on few attempts - he doesn't shoot many), and average over seven rebounds a game (145th nationally) while blocking two shots per game defensively (26th nationally last year). Having both Rubin and Adelekun as rim protectors allows Loyola to be stout up front. Loyola's opponents are shooting under 43% from 2 this year which is third nationally.

Dolan was also a second-team all-Ivy guy but played on a significantly better team than Adelekun (albeit one where defense was optional at times). He's a career 40% three point shooter, provides Valentine with another option at the point for periods of a game, and was one of Cornell's better on-ball defenders (150th nationally in steals). Dolan hasn't truly gone off from 3 this year but we could certainly be the team that he does torch from deep.

Finally, Mwamba arrives in Chicago fresh off a tournament appearance with Oral Roberts last season. Much like many of their conference peers in the Summit, the Golden Eagles were a fair bit better offensively than they were defensively and Mwamba fits that mold as well. He shot nearly 38% from 3 and rebounded at a strong rate but didn't do as much defensively. He fouled out in 14 minutes against Mason the other night and his shooting numbers are pretty rough across the board compared to his last year in Tulsa (just 4/29 from deep, and 67% from FT line). Mwamba is another guy though who has played in over 130 games of CBB - that definitely helps.

Can GW put 40 minutes together (and especially come out ready to go after halftime?) With the way the team is playing right now, it's less about who the opponent is on the other side and more about whether the team is beating itself. I fear that I'm going to find myself noticing how much better Loyola moves the ball compared to us but hopefully we can come somewhat close to their assist numbers on Saturday. That's the message for the offense - move the ball. Teams have shot well from deep against Loyola, but GW shouldn't just settle for open shots. Great offenses give up good shots for great shots, but it feels like GW just settles for good ones many times. The Ramblers are also very prone to fouling, so attacking the hoop and getting to the line will help the offense (even with their shot blockers). Not sure that GW has an answer defensively (between Loyola's passing and ability to make threes, things could look rough), so the offense will need to keep pace. JB and Max in particular will need to show up.

Projected Score: Loyola Chicago 76, GW 72. 38% chance to win (KenPom). ESPN gives us a 36.2% chance to snap a five game losing streak and move to 4-6 in conference.


2/09/2024 11:19 pm  #4

Re: GW vs Loyola Chicago Game

GW +3.5
O/U 149.5


2/10/2024 8:06 am  #5

Re: GW vs Loyola Chicago Game

Is  Johnson going to play today? Anyone know why he didn't play against Rhode Island?


2/10/2024 8:46 am  #6

Re: GW vs Loyola Chicago Game

We were told that Johnson was "sick" for the last game. That's all we know. Hopefully he'll be back today--we need him!


2/10/2024 10:55 am  #7

Re: GW vs Loyola Chicago Game

moneybox wrote:

We were told that Johnson was "sick" for the last game. That's all we know. Hopefully he'll be back today--we need him!

Need him or not, he is the LAST player I ever want to be "sick". He's been through enough already.


2/10/2024 12:10 pm  #8

Re: GW vs Loyola Chicago Game

Like Stretch missing a 2" gimme. Very sad. 


2/10/2024 12:10 pm  #9

Re: GW vs Loyola Chicago Game

Dunk it.


2/10/2024 12:21 pm  #10

Re: GW vs Loyola Chicago Game



2/10/2024 12:23 pm  #11

Re: GW vs Loyola Chicago Game

and a slopy turnover leading to a Loyola 3. JB?


2/10/2024 12:39 pm  #12

Re: GW vs Loyola Chicago Game

I for one am impressed by the team’s hustle today. Still shooting poorly but still in it.


2/10/2024 12:41 pm  #13

Re: GW vs Loyola Chicago Game

Johnson playing = good
Johnson playing well = bonus
Buchanan again having a good game = good
Bishop playing better but still not the Bishop we have come to know and love while resorting to heroball = meh

Someone better make the right sacrifice (a live rooster, if "Bull Durham" is to be believed) to take the hex off Max's shot. And then, someone, ANYONE, had better attain at least a vague grasp on the need for the team to guard the three.
At least it looks like there are people in attendance today,


2/10/2024 12:51 pm  #14

Re: GW vs Loyola Chicago Game

Guys seem to be taking much better shots than in the URI debacle, but still only shooting 32%. The guys are fighting hard to stay within 8, but the shots just aren’t falling…


2/10/2024 12:59 pm  #15

Re: GW vs Loyola Chicago Game

Carl Elliott looks like he could still play!


2/10/2024 1:01 pm  #16

Re: GW vs Loyola Chicago Game

GW Alum Abroad wrote:

Carl Elliott looks like he could still play!

Quick, get that man a jersey!!!


2/10/2024 1:08 pm  #17

Re: GW vs Loyola Chicago Game

stretch another 2" miss. 


2/10/2024 1:13 pm  #18

Re: GW vs Loyola Chicago Game

Tennessee Colonial wrote:

stretch another 2" miss. 

I don’t know why he doesn’t just dunk it. I guess he actually thinks he can make layups… Anyway, team is really fighting hard to make this a game.


2/10/2024 1:31 pm  #19

Re: GW vs Loyola Chicago Game

Stretch = Jabari Edwards


2/10/2024 1:36 pm  #20

Re: GW vs Loyola Chicago Game

Please get a rebound and keep it. Weak hands


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