Despite what the seeds may say, Thursday’s NCAA tournament first-round matchup between No. 6 Miami and No. 11 Loyola Chicago is one of the tightest of the Round of 64.
The game is scheduled to start at 3:10 p.m. ET and will be broadcast nationally on TruTV. If you don’t have cable or can’t get to a TV, you can watch the game, as well as other NCAA tournament games, live on your computer, phone or streaming device by signing up for one of the following cable-free, live-TV streaming services:
Hulu With Live TV: In addition to their extensive Netflix-like streaming library, Hulu now also offers a bundle of live channels, including TBS, TNT, TruTV and CBS. You can sign up for “Hulu with Live TV” right here, and you can then watch a live stream of the game on your computer via the Hulu website, or on your phone, tablet or streaming device via the Hulu app.
DirecTV Now: TBS, TNT and TruTV are each included in all of DirecTV Now’s four main channel packages. You can sign up for a free 7-day trial no matter what package you choose, plus you can get a free Amazon Fire TV if you prepay one month. Once signed up, you can watch the game live on your computer via the DirecTV Now website, or on your phone, tablet or streaming device via the DirecTV Now app.
Note: You can also watch any tournament game on your computer via the March Madness Live website, or on your phone, tablet or streaming device via the March Madness Live app. To watch these streams, you’ll have a free preview before needing to sign in to a TV provider to keep watching, but if you don’t have cable, you can do this by logging in with your Hulu credentials. DirecTV Now and Sling TV aren’t on the list of TV providers, though.
Again, don’t pay too much attention to the seeding in this one. Miami is 36th in the country in Ken Pomeroy’s adjusted efficiency rankings, which take into account things like strength of schedule and margin of victory, while Loyola Chicago is right below at 42nd. The odds tell a similar story, as the Hurricanes are favored by just two points.
Miami has been difficult to figure out at times this season, but their play away from home is certainly a promising indicator for their tournament success, as they went 10-6 on road and neutral courts with victories against tournament teams like NC State, Virginia Tech and North Carolina. They’ll be without talented sophomore guard Bruce Brown, but they’ve gone 8-4 without him this year, so that’s hardly a death sentence.
As for Loyola, they obviously don’t have as many big wins as Miami playing in the Missouri Valley Conference, but they made their potential very clear when they went into Gainesville and took down Florida, 65-59, back in December.
The Ramblers shot 52.0 percent from the field and 50 percent from deep in that upset win, and that proficient offense is exactly what makes them dangerous. They move the ball extremely well (they get assists on nearly 60 percent of their baskets), they have five guys who shoot at least 40 percent on two or more three-point attempts per game, and they are eighth in the nation in effective field-goal percentage.
“I think they deserve the recognition they’re getting,” Miami head coach Jim Larrañaga said about Loyola being a popular upset pick. “I just think it shows a little bit of disrespect for us and the ACC that people must not think we’re any good.”
The winner of this game will play either Texas Tech or Stephen F. Austin on Saturday.