A shot at a national title will come down to whether or not Michigan can beat an 11-seed that lacks the type of length that tends to bother the Wolverines offense. Sounds easy enough, right?
Loyola-Chicago is not your typical bottom seed, however. The Ramblers are loaded with juniors and seniors, have five guys who can put the ball on the floor to create offense, and play terrific perimeter defense. They’ve largely avoided a test as tough as the Wolverines after the South region devolved into fury road.
Here we go.
Teams: Michigan Wolverines (32-7) vs. Loyola-Chicago Ramblers (32-5)
Date: Saturday, March 31, 2018
Location: Alamodome - San Antonio, Texas
Tip-off: 6:09 EST
Can Moe Wagner find his shot?
Moe was not very good offensively against Florida State, and he didn’t hit any of his attempts from deep. FSU’s front line’s wing-span averages out at 7’2, so you can kind of understand. Meanwhile, the Ramblers are significantly less long. The only true big body to throw at Moe Wagner is Cameron Krutwig, a fleet-footed freshman. Krutwig, strong and quicker than you’d expect, does not have the NBA length or athleticism to bother Moe at the rim.
Loyola is so well-coached though that I expect them to have a multitude of looks for Wagner no matter where he touches the ball. I expect he will still have his share of open looks and hitting them will be huge for Michigan.
I mention this because playing in the Alamodome, a converted football stadium, could cause plenty of issues for shooters. Football stadiums have completely different backdrops and lines of sight compared to your typical basketball arena.
For example, the O/U in the Villanova vs Kansas matchup is 155, which hasn’t happened in 13 years. During the course of those 13 years, the average final four total was 135.4. If Michigan’s best shooters can get going, this game could be loads of fun for the fanbase. Let us hope.