The Loyola Ramblers, the second-ranked team in the Missouri Valley Conference, takes on the No. 7 Valparaiso Crusaders in the MVC conference tournament quarterfinals on Friday night.
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The game (7 p.m. ET start time) will be on MVC TV, but if you don’t have that channel or don’t have cable, anyone in the U.S can watch Loyola Chicago vs Valparaiso live on ESPN+:
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Loyola Chicago vs Valparaiso Preview
The Loyola Ramblers (21-10), fresh off their third straight campaign of 20 or more wins, are looking to take home the Missouri Valley Conference tournament title and make the NCAA Tournament for the second time in three seasons.
The MVC’s second-ranked Ramblers will face the seventh-seeded Valparaiso Crusaders in the conference tournament’s quarterfinal round on Friday at 7 p.m. ET.
Loyola, who won the conference’s regular-season title in 2018 and 2019, has won 18 or more games in four consecutive seasons for the first time in 70 years.
The Ramblers enter “Arch Madness” winners of six of their last seven games and are 18-6 in their last 24 contests.
Leading the way for Loyola is their junior center, 6’9 Cameron Krutwig, who was named to the First Team All-MVC Team. Krutwig is averaging 15.3 points, 8.0 rebounds, 4.2 assists and 1.3 steals per game and is shooting 56.9 percent from the field.
Valparaiso (17-15) survived a first-round scare on Thursday night, getting by Evansville, 58-55. The Crusaders trailed Evansville, who had not won a single conference game this season, 40-39 with 11:38 left.
Freshman guard Donovan Clay blocked an Evansville game-tying three-point attempt at the buzzer. Clay finished the game with 16 points and seven rebounds, leading the Crusaders to the quarterfinal round.
“Evansville, they had nothing to lose and they have good players,” said Valparaiso senior forward John Kiser. “They really brought it to us tonight. That’s what you have to do in these situations is just be able to survive and advance. Just being gritty. We knew three’s weren’t going down, so we just tried to get to the bucket more.”
Valparaiso struggled mightily from long range on Thursday, going 0-for-10 from beyond the arc, which was the first time a team had failed to hit a single three-point shot in an MVC Tournament game.
“I guess we made history tonight,” Valparaiso coach Matt Lottich said. “I thought we were nervous. I think that’s, in some ways, a little understandable. Playing in a big-time arena, the lights are different here. It’s hard to play in games where, in a lot of ways, you’re expected to win. They’re playing with really nothing to lose.”
Loyola has beaten Valparaiso in 8 of their last 9 contests, including two close affairs this season. Loyola won the conference opener against Valpo on Dec. 30, 66-63 on the road, and then edged by them 70-68 at home on Feb. 9.
Loyola ended Valpo’s season last year in the MVC quarterfinals, beating them 67-54.
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