Loyola Phoenix

Breaking Down the Men’s Basketball Non-Conference Schedule

The Loyola men's basketball team celebrates its win in the Elite 8.

The Loyola men’s basketball team is set to play eight home games during the 2018-19 season, according to a press release. The Ramblers are also scheduled to play two road games and three games at neutral sites.

Loyola’s 12 Division I opponents carry an average 2017-18 Ratings Point Index (RPI) of 144, according to the NCAA. Last year, the Ramblers’ non-conference schedule had an average 163 RPI after the 2016-17 season.

University of Missouri, Kansas City (UMKC) — Nov. 6

The Ramblers are set to open the 2018-19 season against UMKC. Loyola defeated the Kangaroos 66-56 on the road last year. UMKC went 10-22 overall last season and 5-9 in the Western Athletic Conference, while finishing 261st out of 351 teams in the RPI.

Furman University — Nov. 9

Loyola is set to take on Furman at Gentile Arena Nov. 9. The Paladins finished with a 23-10 overall record last year, but ranked 169th in the RPI, meaning they had a weak schedule.

Niagara University — Nov. 14

To start the Fort Myers Invitational Tip-Off, Loyola will take on Niagara at Gentile Arena, as the tournament format starts at campus sites before moving to Fort Myers, Florida, Nov. 19. Their season ended at the CollegeInsider.com Tournament (CIT) with an 83-65 loss to Eastern Michigan University. The Purple Eagles went 19-13 overall last year and finished 178th in the RPI.

Grambling State University — Nov. 16

The finale of a four-game homestand, Loyola is scheduled to welcome Grambling State to Gentile Arena for the first time. The Tigers finished 17-14 overall, including 13-5 in the Southwestern Athletic Conference, last year and 96th in the RPI.

Richmond University — Nov. 19

Loyola is set to take on Richmond in Fort Myers Nov. 19. A member of the Colonial Athletic Association, the Spiders went 12-20 overall and finished 178th in the RPI last year.

Boston College or University of Wyoming — Nov. 21

In its second game of the Fort Myers Tip-Off, Loyola is slated to play the winner of Boston College vs Wyoming. Boston College finished in 12th place out of 15 teams in the Atlantic Coast Conference last year, carrying a 19-16 overall record and ending the year 94th in the RPI. The Eagles played in the National Invitation Tournament in the postseason, falling to University of Western Kentucky in the opening round.

Wyoming, a member of the Mountain West Conference, finished 20-13 overall — including 10-8 in the Mountain West — and was 100th in the RPI at season’s end.

University of Nevada — Nov. 27

As part of the last MVC/Mountain West Challenge, Loyola will take on Nevada at Gentile Arena Nov. 27 in a rematch of the 2018 Sweet 16, which Loyola won 69-68. Nevada won the Mountain West last year and carried a 29-8 overall record into March Madness. The Wolf Pack are predicted to be a top-10 team this year in some “way-too-early” polls and finished 13th in the RPI last year.

University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC) — Dec. 1

Loyola and UIC are set to renew an inter-city rivalry, which dates back to when Loyola was in the Horizon League, at the UIC Pavilion Dec. 1. Last year, the Ramblers defeated the Flames 85-61 at Gentile Arena behind Aundre Jackson’s 23 points. UIC carried a 20-16 overall record and 12-6 conference record into the CIT last year, ending the year with a 76-71 loss to Northern Colorado University and finishing 208th in the RPI.

Ball State University — Dec. 5

The start of a home-and-home series, Ball State will make the trip to Gentile Arena Dec. 5. This is the first time in program history the Cardinals will travel to Rogers Park. The Cardinals went 19-13 overall, 10-8 in the Mid-American Conference and 125th in the RPI last year.

University of Maryland — Dec. 8

The second of three possible high-major opponents, Loyola will travel to Baltimore to take on Big 10 Conference foe Maryland Dec. 8 at a neutral site: Royal Farms Arena. The Terrapins finished 19-13 overall and 8-10 in the Big 10, while finishing 71st in the RPI.

Norfolk State University — Dec. 16

After a break for finals week, Norfolk State will travel to Loyola Dec. 16 for the third consecutive year. The Ramblers defeated the Spartans 80-52 last year behind Bruno Skokna’s 18 points. Norfolk State finished 14-19 overall, 11-5 in the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference and finished 267th in the RPI last year.

Benedictine University — Dec. 19

Loyola and its lone Division II opponent, Benedictine, are set to square off Dec. 19 in the Ramblers’ last non-conference home game at Gentile Arena. The Eagles went 17-10 last year in the Northern Athletics Collegiate Conference.

Saint Joseph’s University — Dec. 22

To close out the non-conference schedule, Loyola is set to open a home-and-home series with St. Joseph’s Dec. 22 at The Palestra in Philadelphia. The Hawks went 16-16 overall and 10-8 in the Atlantic 10 Conference, while finishing 149th in the RPI.

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