Intro/History Between Teams:
Loyola and Stanford will meet for the first time in program history. Stanford not having the start to their season they probably planned, currently sitting at a 4-7 record. Ramblers look to add to this tough start by ending the non-conference schedule with a win out west. That’s right the Ramblers are traveling out to Stanford territory but will actually be playing on a so-called neutral site in Santa Cruz, California. With this being a neutral site Loyola only has a chance at receiving a quad 3 win as Stanford sits at 107 in NET rankings. Regardless, the Ramblers should see this as an opportunity to finish the non-conference schedule strong before a week off and then conference play.
Main Storyline For This Game:
Finish strong and win, that should be the focus. Share the holiday spirit with coaches, teams and fans with a win. Maybe I’m being a dreamer and hoping for an early Christmas gift. But no reality is that this team is getting into their grove, might not always be pretty but they are playing Loyola basketball. Winning the last 4 of 5 games and even the one loss being the OT to DePaul, this team knows what winning feels like. In those 5 games the team is shooting at 50% Field Goal percent average each game. Very impressive and this output is something they need to strive to keep going at. Leaders like Tom Welch, Phil Alston and Marquise Kennedy are all shooting at 50% or in Tom’s case 85%, which should be leading the nation. Finding this consistency is going to be key going into conference play and we can start to notice other stats finding the net positive.
With this focus on shooting I would love to see a focus on getting the ball down into the post. Finding Phil and Tom with the starting rotation and then being able to open up the options with bench players like Bryce or Hutty. I truly need to see the focus on getting baskets in and around the paint will boost the ball movement and productivity. Finding options will open the floor for guys like Braden and Ben to play off ball offense and hit from deep. Watching Braden find his shooting stride from the assist off guys like Marquise, Saint and of course Braden helping others, is amazing to watch. These guys are getting comfortable and finding out what playing Rambler basketball is all about. I think the turn on the calendar will be a turning page in the season.
Hot or Not and Whom to Watch:
HOT: Team Field Goal Percentage. Yep I wrote about it earlier but this trend is heating up for the Ramblers. The absolute basic understanding is that the positive trend is leading to wins. I also think it is pretty obvious that other key factors on the offensive end are getting better. Rebounds, assists and turnovers are heading in the direction the team needs to see. As well we might start seeing a trend of rotations being used like we saw last game out, 5 players off the bench could benefit from being done into conference play.
NOT: Even as the field goal percentage has been great the last 5 games but sadly the last 3 games have seen a dip in 3 point field goal percent. Crazy thing to think of but yep the team has seen less than 30% in each of the games even less than 20% in 2 games. On the podcast we spoke about how some shots even are wide open misses but not falling into a black-hole and trying to shoot our way out of it could hurt more than help. Get comfortable and don’t feel the need to force a three when ball movement is there.
Game Time, Broadcast Info, Ticket Availability
- Thursday December 22nd at 9PM (that’s right late one)
- WATCH: Pac-12 Network
- LISTEN: Rambler Sport Network
Probable Starting Lineups:
G: Braden Norris
G: Marquise Kennedy
F: Ben Schwieger
F: Phil Alston
C: Tom Welch
By The Numbers:
- Points Per Game
- Loyola: 68.1 points/game
- Stanford: 67.5 points/game
- Points Allowed Per Game
- Loyola: 66.9 points/game
- Stanford: 63.9 points/game
- Cut them TREES!
- It is Christmas time of the year so let’s chop some trees and put a win on top.
- Stanford unofficial mascot is the Stanford Tree