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No. 7 Ohio State vs. No. 10 Loyola Chicago: Preview, picks for first round of 2022 NCAA Tournament

The No. 7 Buckeyes and No. 10 Ramblers meet at PPG Paints Arena in the first round of the 2022 NCAA Tournament. We’ve got everything you need on both teams ahead of the game here.

The Ohio State Buckeyes and Loyola-Chicago Ramblers meet in the opening game of the 2022 NCAA Tournament, with many experts picking the No. 10 seed to once again create some chaos. The Buckeyes are reeling from last year’s loss to Oral Roberts in the 2-15 matchup, and will hope to avoid the same fate this year.

No. 7 Ohio State: 19-11 (12-8 Big Ten): At-large bid

KenPom rating: 32 Overall, 13 Offense, 131 Defense
NET ranking: 26, (5-5 Vs. Quad 1)
Leading scorer: E.J. Liddell (19.6 ppg)
Key stat: The Buckeyes were the ninth instance in tournament history of a No. 2 seed losing to a No. 15 seed when they were upset by Oral Roberts last season.

Ohio State has the benefit of playing in the nation’s toughest conference, so this team is battle-tested. Liddell is a matchup issue for any opponent, and he should have a decent advantage in the post against the Ramblers. The question will be whether Ohio State’s perimeter players can make shots against a tough Loyola defense.

No. 10 Loyola-Chicago: 25-7 (13-5 MVC): Automatic bid

KenPom rating: 24 Overall, 42 Offense, 22 Defense
NET ranking: 23 (3-2 Vs. Quad 1)
Leading scorer: Lucas Williamson (14.0 ppg)
Key stat: The Ramblers have five rotation players shooting better than 39.0 percent from behind the arc.

Loyola-Chicago is headed to the A-10 next season and would like a strong run in the NCAA Tournament ahead of that move. The Ramblers have lost some key pieces from last year’s team but return Lucas Williamson and Braden Norris. Transfer Ryan Schwieger could be the key for the Ramblers to wreak some havoc in the South Region.

Odds from DraftKings Sportsbook

Point spread: Pick ‘em
Point total: 133
Moneyline: Ohio State -110, Loyola-Chicago -110

The Pick

Against The Spread Pick: Loyola-Chicago
Point total pick: Under 133
Pick to Win: Loyola-Chicago

This should be a nice contest between Ohio State’s offense and Loyola’s defense. The Buckeyes have the best player in Liddell but the Ramblers are the more complete unit and have been playing better recently. Take Loyola to grab a tournament win in what should be a tight, low-scoring game.

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