Loyola and UIC will meet for the 43rd time in their history tonight when the Ramblers travel the 11 miles to UIC Pavilion to take on the Flames. UIC has won 5 straight games against Loyola and holds a 29-13 lead all-time in the series.
The game will be broadcast on ESPNU. It's set to tip-off at 8 p.m. CT.
Both teams enter the game looking to end losing streaks. They've both dropped three Horizon League games in a row.
The predictions are split on the game. While Accuscore has the Flames as winning almost 58% of the 10,000 simulations by an aggregate score of 64.6-62.1, Pomeroy has the Ramblers as favorites with a 57% confidence.
Those predictions though make sense as the Ramblers and Flames match-up particularly well. Some individual games within the game that I'm excited to watch include:
-Terrance Hill vs. Robo Kreps. You have to imagine that Jim Whitesell is going to put his defensive stopper on UIC's best scoring guard. Even if Kreps has been a bit down lately he can always erupt, especially at home. On the other end I'm not sure Kreps will end up guarding Hill specifically, the Flames play quite a bit of zone, but he'll be trying to make sure the Ramblers don't get easy looks from three.
-Jeremy Buttell vs. Andy Polka. Two senior forwards that are both playing at the top of their games, but do it in very different ways. Polka is cerebral with how he approaches the game. He leads the Horizon League in rebounding because of the smart angles he plays and the powerful base he built up while being injured last season. Buttell plays off of energy. If he gets started off quick in a game he'll feed off of it and is a threat to put up another 30-point game.
-Ben Averkamp vs. K.C. Robbins. Again, this might not be the match-up as my guess is Buttell, Robbins and Brad Birton will rotate against Averkamp, Polka and Walt Gibler, but if these two do bang against each other in the post it's a good match-up of two big guys still sort of finding their way at this level.
All of these interesting individual match-ups aside, the Ramblers have a slight advantage in depth. Whether they'll be able to capitalize on it at the Pavilion will be the key to the game.
Should be an exciting game!