Saturday, February 22, 2020

UCLA 70, No. 18 Colorado 63: Bruins spoil senior day with an epic comeback

                        Photo Credit: Adam Chalifoux 

By: Adam Chalifoux 
Twitter: @FantasticMrFoux

UCLA shocked the home court in Boulder, Colorado with a huge second half to beat the No. 18 Buffaloes, 70-63. 

"They deserved to win this game. They were the tougher team," said Colorado head coach, Tad Boyle. 

About midway through the first half, news broke that the Colorado Buffaloes finally found their new head football coach. While Karl Dorrell's move to Boulder is huge news, Colorado has made it clear that they are now a basketball school and this year, one of the better teams in the country. 

Alone in first place in the Pac-12 and on senior Saturday, there was not an empty seat in the building for Colorado's clash with the UCLA Bruins. 11,214 fans were in attendance, the fifth most in school history.

The Bruins challenged the Buffaloes early however holding them to just one for eight from deep in the first half and not allowing them to have any easy looks. Evan Battey led Colorado in dirty work as they earned a narrow 29-26 lead at halftime.

As the second half began it looked as if the Buffaloes would dominate the second half as they have developed a habit of doing at home. Colorado extended their lead to nine with 12:34 left in the game but then it was the Bruins who proved to be the more clutch team down the stretch. 

Locking up the Buffaloes, UCLA went on a 14-0 run to take a 55-50 with 6:27 remaining. 

"We were getting good looks and some stuff wasn't falling and we let it affect our defense on the other end," said McKinley Wright who led the Buffaloes with 20 points, including two late 3-pointers to give Colorado a chance to come back and win after the Bruins went up eight points with three minutes remaining. 

Bruins head coach Mick Cronin said the turning point in the game came during a timeout with around 13 minutes left. 

"We stopped getting beat, locked them down defensively and out communication was better," said Cronin. "From that point on we had 14 deflections."

UCLA spoiled Colorado's senior Saturday with physical defense, 44 second-half points, and the outstanding play of freshman point guard, Tyger Campbell who finished with 15 points and 11 assists to just one turnover. 

Colorado will now go on to finish its season with three road games against Cal, Stanford, and Utah. UCLA meanwhile will host Arizona State and Arizona before heading to USC to finish their season. Now 10-5 in conference and having swept Colorado, the Bruins could certainly play there way into the NCAA tournament conversation. Saturday's win was a crucial step. 

Friday, February 21, 2020

Genotology for Feb. 21

By: Geno Green
Twitter: @TheGenoGreen

With March Madness right around the corner, Genotology will expand to twice a week and then daily for championship week. Here is my latest bracket as Colorado re-enters in my Sweet 16 as the 4 seed in the Midwest region.

Last Four In:

NC State
Northern Iowa

First Four Out:

Utah State

Chalifoux's NBA prospects to watch for from No. 18 Colorado's 70-66 win over USC

Mandatory Credit- Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

By: Adam Chalifoux
Twitter: @FantasticMrFoux

The No. 18 Colorado Buffaloes once again defended their home court with a stellar second-half to hold of the USC Trojans, 70-66. Meanwhile, Arizona State was able to upset the Oregon Ducks, putting Colorado in the first place in the Pac-12. 

It was not a pretty first half for the Buffaloes. In fact, early on it was ugly. Colorado turned the ball over 11 times to four assists in the first half. The Trojans held a 29-26 lead going into the break as they looked to avenge their loss in Los Angeles earlier in the season. 

While the Buffaloes prevailed, both teams featured potential NBA talent. In fact, the best NBA prospect was on the Trojans. Let's take a look at the four most interesting NBA prospects from Thursday night's game.

1) Onyeka Okongwu- USC 

If the Univerity of Southern California's science department developed a way to clone Onyeka Okongwu, they would likely have won the game. Unfortunately for the Trojans, there was only one of him and he alone was not enough to stop the balanced Buffaloes. The 6-foot-9, 245-pound freshmen used his NBA body to dominate inside for 21 points to lead all scorers on an efficient 10-of-13 from the field.

Okongwu also showed prowess on the defensive end, demonstrating a high IQ and athleticism to jump passing lanes and anticipate the offenses next move to finish with four steals. Many experts project Okongwu as a top-10 pick in the 2020 NBA Draft. 

2) Tyler Bey- Colorado

Tyler Bey has been the best defensive player on Colorado's defense which ranks 14th in the country according to Kenpom's defensive efficiency rating. Bey has the feet to guard inside and outside making him a terrific pick-and-roll defender due to his ability to guard guards and forwards effectively. 

Bey's 9.3 rebounds per game leads the conference. Bey stays in his stance and is one of the best in the country at jumping passing lanes and playing off-ball defense.

Bey tied with USC's Nick Rakocevic for a game-high 11 rebounds. The 6-foot-7, 218-pound forward could beef up a bit and improve his jumper to reach his full NBA potential but as junior, he has been crucial to the Buffaloes success on the offensive side of the floor as well. 

Bey's instincts for the ball, timing, and motor make him a tremendous and relentless rebounder. Many mock drafts show Bey being taken in the mid to late first round. In today's league, Bey could potentially develop into a valuable asset with a team that likes to run in a small-ball league.

3) McKinley Wright- Colorado

The biggest thing going against McKinley Wright is his height. Apart from that, the 6-foot junior has just about everything else a coach could want in a point guard. Despite usually being one of the smaller players on the floor, Wright is a tremendous rebounder averaging 5.3 per game. 

Wright is a stabilizing force on both ends of the floor whether that shows up when he is running the offense or correcting defensive breakdowns. Wright struggled with turnovers in the first half but finished with seven assists and 15 points.

Wright seems to always be ready to step up in big moments. Despite the young playmaker not yet garnering a ton of hype as a professional prospect yet, a strong showing in March and perhaps staying for his senior season could bring more awareness to the Buffaloes floor general.

4) Isaiah Mobley- USC

Isaiah Mobley was the only player to represent California in 2019's McDonalds All-American Game last season. His younger brother, Evan Mobley is the number one high school player in the nation and committed to the Trojans next season. 

Mobley's size and athleticism make him an interesting prospect. While he only averages 6.9 points and 5.5 rebounds per game, Mobley has the potential to develop into a very reliable player. The easy comparison is former Trojan, Taj Gibson. 

Rosenberg: Bradley and Valpo play another key piece in the Arch Madness puzzle Saturday night

By: Jeremy Rosenberg

There are a few experiences in time and space that are iconic in sports. An afternoon at Wrigley. Friday night lights in Texas. Sunday at Arrowhead. For a college basketball fan, a winter Saturday night in Indiana will do nicely, the welcome generated warmth of a packed crowd contrasting nicely with frigid outdoor temperatures. A chance to escape the brutal weather, as well as the stresses of the week, to lose yourself for a couple hours rooting for a local team.
There is a lot to love about college hoops as a whole, but I do have a special place in my heart for Missouri Valley Conference basketball. Over the years, tournament success is synonymous with the MVC, and no power conference wants to end up facing the MVC champ. Basketball in the Missouri Valley is tenaciously competitive, and at a high enough level to put genuine fear into even the most storied of basketball programs.

The 2019-2020 version of the MVC potentially promises more of the same. A four-way bunch at the top of the standings, with one game separating perennial power Northern Iowa, 2018 Final Four darling Loyola-Chicago, defending conference tournament champ Bradley, and the upstart Southern Illinois Salukis. Pride plays a big factor in motivating these teams to a regular season championship, but let’s face it, as much as I love MVC hoops, the defections by Creighton and Wichita State has relegated the MVC to a one-bid conference. Enter Arch Madness.

Let us ponder what Arch Madness in St. Louis might look like this year. Earlier this week, the two teams I will be watching Saturday night played in desperate overtime battles, Bradley winning at home against Missouri State, while Valparaiso lost a valiant comeback effort at Drake. Come MVC tournament time, expect more of the same. For sheer competitive, rabid fan-fueled college hoops, in the words of Nelly, you can find me in St. Louie.

The ten-team format employed by the MVC is probably the most ideal for a conference tournament. Seeds seven to 10 play an opening round game, giving premium importance to being a top six seed. Obviously, you would like to be in the top two. But more important is to avoid the opening round, keeping the legs fresh for what will in all likelihood be a grueling gauntlet to the finals.

Currently, four teams are fighting for the five and six seeds. Drake and Indiana State have the edge with a one game lead, but with three games to play nothing is certain, especially with Valparaiso and Missouri State hot on their heels. Which brings us back to Saturday night in Indiana.

Bradley, 19-9 (10-5), is seeking a return to the NCAA tournament, as well as a regular season title. The Braves will battle Valparaiso, 14-14 (7-8), a team that has its back firmly against the wall. The Crusaders need a win to stay in the hunt for a top six seed and to avoid the dreaded opening round game.

Bradley has all the ingredients of a tough NCAA tournament out. A senior leader in point guard Darrell Brown. All-around talented forward Elijah Childs. Senior big man Koch Bar, and senior guard/small forward Nate Kennell. The Braves are talented and deep, with size and experience. 

Valpo is led by dynamic sophomore guard Javon Freeman-Liberty, the best player named Liberty since Marcus at Illinois. Valpo has youth, adding Mileek McMillan and Donovan Clay to the mix. When healthy, senior Ryan Fazekas makes Valpo a greater threat than their record indicates.

Saturday night in Indiana will be a tough road game for Bradley, but this is where true Sweet Sixteen contenders emerge, showing the ability to win difficult conference road games, in what will likely be a raucous environment. Whatever happens, I’ll be in St. Louis in two weeks to watch the Valley settle the season once and for all.  


Wednesday, February 19, 2020

Green's five takeaways from No. 12 Villanova's 91-71 win at DePaul

Photo Credit: Geno Green

By: Geno Green
Twitter: @TheGenoGreen

The No. 12 Villanova Wildcats (20-6, 9-4 Big East) showed once more why they are the gold standard in the Big East with a 91-71 throttling of the DePaul Blue Demons (13-13, 1-12 Big East) at Wintrust Arena to extend their win streak in the series to 20 games. Here are my five takeaways from Chicago for CSO.

1) Wildcats’ three-point barrage:

Given its size disadvantage in the frontcourt to DePaul, Villanova went to its ultimate UNO draw four card with crisp perimeter shooting, making eight of the first 10 on the way to 18-of-26 (69.2 percent).

The biggest of Villanova’s 18 three-point makes came early in the first half as they clung to a 15-12 lead after a missed point-blank layup by DePaul’s Darrius Hall, which resulted in a three-point make from the wing by Saddiq Bey in transition that spearheaded a 13-2 run.

Villanova never looked back, but coach Jay Wright kept things in perspective when it came to the misfortunes of DePaul on the night.

“[DePaul] had some tough breaks and that happens sometimes when things are not going your way and you make the play that will get you back in it. It is the tough side of sports, but [DePaul] kept on fighting and played hard for Dave [Leitao],” Wright said.

2) The versatility of Bey on full display:

While Saddiq Bey proved to be a menace from the perimeter going 5-of-7 with a game-high 22 points, the crisp ball movement would be the strength as the sophomore finished with a game-high seven assists.

Wright loved how Bey got other players involved, but more importantly how other teams now have to game plan in scouting reports going forward.

“[Saddiq] is a really complete player and is really smart. As the season goes on, he is at the top of most teams’ scouting reports and makes good reads when people come to help on him. He finds his teammates and when he is open, he is always prepared to shoot,” Wright said.

3) Cosby-Roundtree’s bench contributions:

While small ball played a pivotal part in Villanova’s win, Dhamir Cosby-Roundtree’s play did not go unnoticed as the size of the junior gave DePaul’s interior defense problems.

A thunderous dunk off a bullet pass from Bey highlighted Cosby-Roundtree’s season-high 11 points, to go along with seven rebounds in 16 minutes off the bench. Cosby-Roundtree focused more on being in the right place at the right time and let everything else fall into place.

“It was me trying to come in and do whatever the team needed,” Cosby-Roundtree said. “Just trying to be on the glass focusing on defensive rebounding and wasn’t worried about scoring. I just knew if I rebounded and played hard for every position I could, then good things would happen.”

4) Moore Gillespie please:

The one-two punch of Villanova’s Justin Moore and Collin Gillespie proved to be too much for DePaul as they went for 17 points each and combined for nine three-point makes.

The ability for the duo to be versatile and attack on the floor at various pressure points led to troubles all around for the Blue Demons defense all game long.

5) DePaul in distress:

After what appeared to be a promising season with a 12-1 mark in non-league play has turned into an utter catastrophe with DePaul not being able to develop an identity in Big East competition.

Lack of adjustments and late-game blowups have led to a 1-12 record in the conference as Dave Leitao’s fifth season has turned into the same story as the previous four in the windy city.

“What’s going on in front of us is a little bit more life than it is basketball in that all of us have to figure out when you face adversity, how best to deal with it,” Leitao said. “You have to be able to give and have to be able to take and somewhere on along the line, we as a group have lost that part if that we had. It becomes more challenging to get back to that place when you are always losing.”

Monday, February 17, 2020

Genotology for Feb. 17

By: Geno Green
Twitter: @TheGenoGreen

Welcome to another edition of Genotology as Creighton continues its rise in the bracket to the No. 4 seed in the West region.

Last Four In:

Arizona St.

First Four Out:

Utah State

Thursday, February 13, 2020

Green's five takeaways from Marquette's 76-57 win over No. 19 Butler

 Photo Credit: Jeff Hanisch- USA TODAY Sports

By: Geno Green
Twitter: @TheGenoGreen

On National Marquette Day, the Marquette Golden Eagles (17-6, 7-4 Big East) put together a well-balanced effort in a 76-57 win over the No. 19 Butler Bulldogs (18-6, 6-5 Big East) to split the regular season series. Here are my five takeaways from Fiserv Forum for CSO.

1) The John force shift:

With the first 11:30 seeing 10 lead changes and more plot twists than a reality TV show, Marquette’s Theo John changed the complexion of the game with a roaring block on Butler’s Jordan Tucker. The block resulted with flawless transition on the other end capped off by a three-point make from the wing by Brendan Bailey to put the Golden Eagles up 26-21.

Marquette led for the remainder of the game and while John’s stat sheet (four points and seven rebounds) is not anything eye-popping, the under-the-radar play was something coaches LaVall Jordan (Butler) and Steve Wojciechowski (Marquette) discussed.

“[Theo] has really improved. We came up here his freshman year when Tyler Wideman was a senior and looked like he had great promise. We are seeing his development now and his ability to impact games on the glass. He did it early with a couple of offensive boards and then had seven blocks at [Hinkle Fieldhouse] earlier this season. He’s got a presence down there and helps their defense,” Jordan said.

“Theo’s shot blocking has been momentum plays for us. When Jayce [Johnson] and Theo are playing well, it is such a shot in the arm for the team. The shot blocking and the ability to protect the basket really energizes our group,” Wojchiechowski said.

2) Bailey and McEwen steal the show:

While Markus Howard has proven to be the ultimate three-point threat, Marquette has looked for other players to step up as Koby McEwen and Brendan Bailey answered the challenge.

McEwen and Bailey combined for 8-of-11 from three-point range and finished with 16 points each. The peak of the run came in a 1:17 stretch in the second half where the pair combined to make three consecutive makes from long range to increase Marquette’s lead to 62-45 and never looked back.

“Every 9-0 stretch is big and I thought we had so many guys step up and make crucial plays. That group was phenomenal that was on the floor when he had that run. Koby hit two big threes and Brendan hit one. Brendan was terrific throughout the game with his rebounding and obviously his shooting,” Wojciechowski said.

3) Baldwin’s second half flurry not enough:

In the first meeting of the season on Jan. 24, Kamar Baldwin scored 29 of his 31 points after halftime in an 89-85 overtime win against Marquette at Hinkle Fieldhouse. After a slow start in the first half of Sunday’s game, the senior found his groove, but would not be enough despite going for a game-high 23 points.

Jordan knows the sluggish effort would likely not result in a win in any Big East game and showed on the court against Marquette.

“You do not get to play well and have a guaranteed shot of winning in the Big East,” Jordan said. “Marquette played better and Wojo had them more prepared than we were. We have to play better and it is as simple as that.”

4) Quiet McDermott:

Sean McDermott had a day to forget for Butler as the sharp-shooter finished 0-of-5 from the field and held to two points in 34 minutes of action.

On top of the quiet night from the senior, the Bulldogs could not get into a rhythm from long range as they went 4-of-20 (20 percent) with Baldwin converting three of those shots.

5) National Marquette Day:

Marquette fans and alumni celebrated the annual National Marquette Day and were treated to a Sunday helping of basketball. Wojciechowski appreciated the turnout despite the 11 a.m. CT tip.

“National Marquette Day is always very special. It is a little bit earlier and on a different day this year, but true to form, Marquette fans showed up and showed out and it was as good of a college basketball environment as any college basketball player could hope to play in,” Wojciechowski said.

Monday, February 10, 2020

Genotology for Feb. 10

By: Geno Green
Twitter: @TheGenoGreen

We are past the halfway mark in conference play and things are starting to take shape with teams such as Seton Hall making the climb to the No. 2 seed in the latest Genotology bracket.

Last Four In:

NC State

First Four Out:

Mississippi State
Utah State

Sunday, February 9, 2020

No. 24 Colorado 81, Stanford 74: Buffaloes lock in to defeat the Cardinal in second half

Photo Credit: Cliff Grassmick- Associated Press

By: Adam Chalifoux
Twitter: @FantasticMrFoux

The No. 24 Colorado Buffaloes won one of their hardest-fought games of the season Saturday night at home against the Stanford Cardinal, 81-74. For much of the night, however, it looked as if Stanford would knock off the first place Buffaloes from atop the Pac-12 standings. 

"We got a target on our back," said McKinley Wright, "we're the number one team in the Pac-12 and everybody's going to give us their best shot."

Coming into the game, Stanford boasted the third-ranked defensive efficiency rating in the country. Not far behind them at 15 and second in the Pac-12 was Colorado. Besides a Shane Gatling 3-pointer that opened the scoring, neither team would get anything easy for either team.

Despite Colorado averaging 72, and Stanford averaging 70 points per game, the score was 28-22 Stanford with under ten seconds to play in the first half. Terry Tyrell pulled up from deep and was fouled by Eli Parquet.

Tad Boyle was having none of it and added two more free-throws by way of a technical foul to make the score 33-22 at the half. Colorado was held to just 29 percent shooting, three of 13 from deep.

On the verge of their best start in program history, it was clear that it would not come easy Saturday night against the Cardinal. 

"We knew we couldn't afford to lose this game," said McKinley Wright, who led all scorers with 21 points.

Stanford's lead extended to 16 at 18:15 left. Despite the deficit, Colorado remained calm, finding open looks and finally taking the lid off the basket from deep.

The moment of the game came with 16:31 left when Stanford star, Oscar Da Silva wrapped up Colorado big man, Evan Battey as he sprinted to the hoop. Battey, listed at 265 crashed to the floor with Silva who was unable to get up for several minutes. Silva had been Stanford's defensive anchor. He left the game and would not return.  After both teams gathered at halfcourt to share a prayer for Sila, play resumed.

Trailing 41-30, Colorado went on a 21-8 run to take a 51-49 lead. Once the game was tied, Tad Boyle told his team how they would pull away.

"That next timeout, 'OK now, the only way we're gonna get this thing to Colorado's advantage is to continue to get stops because you cannot trade baskets with teams and get ahead or come from behind," said Boyle.

Stanford's Jaiden Delaire led the way for Stanford with 19 points but with the Buffaloes now in rhythm, the Cardinal were not able to regain control of the game. The Buffaloes meanwhile had gone from ice to fire, shooting a perfect eight for eight as a team from distance in the second half.

Leading the way for the Buffaloes were D'Shawn Schwartz and McKinley Wright who scored 15 points each in the second half. Wright finished with 21 points while Schwartz added 20.

Colorado 's next challenge will be a rematch with Oregon, who they defeated in Boulder in early January. This time, they will have to visit them on their home floor. Stanford will host the Arizona State Sun Devils Thursday night. 

Friday, February 7, 2020

No. 24 Colorado 71, California 65: Buffaloes overcome rocky start to stay in first place with the Ducks

Photo Credit: David Zalubowaski- Associated Press

By: Adam Chalifoux
Twitter: @FantasticMrFoux

Despite the homecourt advantage and getting off to the best start the No. 24 Colorado Buffaloes have enjoyed in a decade, it was a rocky start in the rocky mountains on Thursday night, but overcame it in a 71-65 win over the California Golden Bears. 

Fresh off a statement win over USC, the Buffaloes did not bring their A-game against the California Golden Bears. In fact, if they came out any colder there would have likely been a winter storm advisory. Colorado was just two of their first 13 from deep. 

Cal had every chance to pull away in the first half, shooting 63 percent from the field and 66 from behind the 3-point line. Eight turnovers kept Colorado in the game. The Buffaloes made up for their shooting woes by only committing two turnovers and seven offensive rebounds through the first twenty minutes. With seconds left in the first half, McKinley Wright found Tyler Bey for an open layup to make it 28 all at the break. 

Cal was led by strong performances from Matt Bradley, who finished with a team-high 17 points and Paris Austin who finished with 15. However, the Buffaloes turned on the defrosters in the second half. Colorado did just enough to pull off the win, shooting five-of-11 from deep in the final 20 minutes, largely due to two of their leaders.

Tyler Bey was named one of ten finalists for the Karl Malone Award given to the best power forward in college basketball Thursday morning. He showed why by leading the team with a game-high 21 points with 13 of them coming in the second half. Bey was also crucial on the glass with ten rebounds.

After being held to just five points and shooting one for four in the first half, McKinley Wright found his stride in the second, going a perfect five for five from the field to finish with 19 points, six rebounds, and four assists. The duo combined for nine-of-11 in the final 20 minutes for 27 of Colorado's 44 points.

"We knew we couldn't afford to lose this one," said Wright.

Despite the win, the Buffaloes feel that they are a better team than the version of themselves that took the floor.

Coach Tad Boyle said the game reminded him of some of his team's games at the beginning of the season.

"We weren't very good but we found a way to win the game," said Boyle.

The Buffaloes move to 7-3 in Pac-12 play which puts them in first place for now. The mood after the game, however, did not reflect that.

"The sign of a somber locker room after a league win tells us that we have pretty high expectations of ourselves," Boyle said.

Colorado will host Stanford this Saturday back at the CU Events Center while Cal will head to Utah. With wins over USC and Oregon, Colorado would own tie-breakers over the next three teams in the Pac-12. If they do hope to beat the Cardinal however, they will likely need to play well for forty minutes, not just the final twenty.  

Tuesday, February 4, 2020

Genotology for Feb. 4

By: Geno Green
Twitter: @TheGenoGreen

Welcome to another edition of Genotology as Illinois climbs into the No. 4 seed in the latest bracket.

Last Four In:

NC State

First Four Out:

Rhode Island
Mississippi State

Saturday, February 1, 2020

Green's five takeaways from Loyola's 62-51 win over Bradley

Photo Credit: Geno Green

By: Geno Green
Twitter: @TheGenoGreen

A raucous Gentile Arena crowd on Super Bowl Saturday night played a vital part as the Loyola-Chicago Ramblers (15-8, 7-3 MVC) stayed within a game of Northern Iowa for first place in the Missouri Valley Conference with a 62-51 win over the Bradley Braves (15-8, 6-4 MVC). Here are my five takeaways for CSO from Chicago.

1) Loyola’s student section brought the smoke:

One of the unique aspects about the intimacy of a basketball arena is the insulated noise and drowning down on the court as the Loyola student section played their role of sixth man to a tee.

Things peaked around the 15-minute mark in the second half when Bradley could not muster anything on offense and after a foul call, Porter Moser pointed directly at the student section first before praising his players for the hustle.

“I saw the students two hours before the game in the student union and that’s what you want in a college atmosphere,” Moser said. “Most of the games are sold out and you want to create that atmosphere, especially with this league being elite at home.”

2) Kennedy getting the job in a different way:

Fresh off a game-high 18 points off the bench in Wednesday’s 68-63 loss to Southern Illinois, Loyola’s Marquise Kennedy played more like an extra with four points.

While the production on offense wasn’t there, the effort made up for it as Kennedy made an impact play on a save behind the basket and found Tate Hall for the layup to put Loyola up 16-9 at the 12:56 mark in the first half.

Cameron Krutwig recognized the moment and how it helped build confidence for Loyola for the remainder of the game.

“It’s little stuff like that helps give you confidence. When you are on offense, you are confident that you are doing your job and you start to hit shots and make plays. It was a tangible play by [Marquise] to help build momentum,” Krutwig said.

3) The one-two punch of Hall and Krutwig:

After a six-point outing at Southern Illinois, Tate Hall responded with 11 of his 14 points in the first half, highlighted by 3 three-point makes, while leading scorer Cameron Krutwig finished with a game-high 19 points, on 7-of-12 shooting.

The offense ran through the duo as Bradley could not come up with an answer on defense throughout the game as they accounted for 53.2 percent of Loyola’s points.

4) Revenge best served cold:

The Braves ended the Ramblers’ NCAA tournament hopes last season with a 53-51 win in the MVC tournament semifinal round. Loyola watched from afar on selection Sunday as Bradley secured the automatic berth in the NCAA tournament.

Outside of an early Bradley lead, Loyola controlled the tempo for the majority of the evening as it held leading scorer Darrell Brown Jr. to eight points, on three-of-nine shooting and fouled out with 2:36 left in regulation. Braves coach Brian Wardle did not like the energy brought to the court and hopes for improvement going forward.

“They outcompeted us in the second half and we didn’t play well. Guys got frustrated and started playing one-on-one and could net get into the flow,” Wardle said.

5) Holding serve:

Bradley posed one of the more efficient offenses in the MVC with 72.5 points per game (third) and Loyola managed to keep them at bay by holding them scoreless over a 6:15 stretch, which built to a 39-30 lead, spanning both halves.

Loyola’s stifling defense held Bradley to a season-low 51 points for the second time in 2019-20, which could be one of the better showings in MVC play when all is set and done.