College Basketball Betting Free Pick: Indiana State Sycamores at Loyola Ramblers
FREE PICK: Indiana State Sycamores at Loyola Ramblers
#819 Indiana State +7.5
Loyola was pegged for big things this season following last year’s Final Four run. Three starters returned including MVC Player of the Year Clayton Custer. But the Ramblers lost three very key seniors in Aundre Jackson, Donte Ingram, and Ben Richardson. Combined those three shot nearly 50% from the floor and hit 127 3-pointers. You’ll notice that Custer’s numbers thus far have dropped off a fair amount; 116.2 offensive rating last season to a current mark of 102.1. And it’s not just Custer as the entire team has struggled offensively with an 1.00 offensive efficiency mark good for 224th nationally.
Meanwhile, Indiana State head coach Greg Lansing quietly has one of the most talented rosters in the MVC. The Sycamores returned only one starter but that starter is Jordan Barnes who will be in the mix for conference POY. A handful of role players also returned and more important, ISU added transfers Christian Williams (Iowa) and Cooper Neese (originally signed with Butler) who recently became eligible. ISU proved itself and some during non-conference play with wins over Western Kentucky, who just beat Wisconsin, Colorado and UNLV. There’s no shame in any of their four losses either as TCU is a top-30 caliber team and Ball State (the Cardinals won by 6 at Loyola) and North Texas are a combined 22-5.
Loyola will still have edges, most notably more experience and a stronger defense. But talent-wise, there’s not much of any difference between these two squads. In fact, looking at the layout of the MVC, I project both teams to finish 1-2 in the regular season standings. Last year, Loyola was laying -6 to Indiana State at home and lost 61-57. In the rematch, the Ramblers got revenge but by a modest margin of 75-71. Feel the gap between both teams has narrowed with makes the +7.5 worth taking.