On the 12th day of Christmas the Ramblers gave to me:
12 Jacket Tosses
It’s no secret that when Loyola men’s basketball head coach Porter Moser gets frustrated during a game, he throws his suit coat. It’s even spawned a fan account on Twitter: @PortersJacket.
11 Free Throw Chances
Loyola 97-for-159 on free throws this year, a 61 percent average from the charity stripe. The Ramblers are ranked 330 out of 351 teams in all of Division I basketball for free-throw percentage.
10 or Less Turnovers
Moser is constantly talking about the team’s turnovers and how they usually dictate the course of the game for the Ramblers. He has a goal for 10 or less turnovers per game. So far, the team has only met that goal twice — against University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC) and Niagara University.
Nine Conference Home Games
The Ramblers were voted the preseason Missouri Valley Conference (MVC) favorite and are scheduled to play nine MVC games at Gentile Arena this season.
Eight Games Played
Loyola has played eight games so far this season, going 5-3 overall. Through the UIC game Dec. 1, the Ramblers had come out flat in the first half, which caused problems. Redshirt senior guard Marques Townes has noted the slow starts as an area of improvement which needs to be fixed if the team is going to go back to the NCAA Tournament.
Seven Steals Per Game
The Ramblers are averaging 7.1 steals per game with Townes and redshirt guard Clayton Custer leading the team with 12 apiece. Loyola is ranked 118th in D-I basketball for steals per game, which is tied with six other teams — including No. 1 Gonzaga University.
Six returning Players
Custer, Townes, junior guard Bruno Skokna, sophomore guard Lucas Williamson, sophomore center Cameron Krutwig and sophomore forward Christian Negron all returned from last year’s Final Four run.
Five Wins This Year
Loyola has had five wins over University of Missouri Kansas City, Niagara, Grambling State University, University of Richmond and UIC. The team is ranked 84th in the NCAA Evaluation Tool (NET) rankings out of 351 teams. The NET is a new metric to determine which teams make it to March Madness this season, replacing the Ratings Percentage Index.
Four Kaifes Three-Pointers
First-year guard Cooper Kaifes has made 14 three-pointers for a team high 60.9 percentage from outside.
Three Significant Losses
This one can go in one of two ways: It can be the Rambler’s actual game losses or the three seniors the team lost at the end of last season.
The Ramblers have lost three games this season, but they weren’t necessarily to bad teams. Two of the teams Loyola lost to are ranked in the Associated Press (AP) Poll — No. 6 University of Nevada and No. 25 Furman University. The other loss was to Boston College, who received two votes in this week’s AP poll while the Ramblers received none.
Despite the successes of these teams, it doesn’t look like Loyola will get an at large bid for March Madness if it loses the MVC Tournament championship game.
The other three significant losses for Loyola are Ben Richardson, Donte Ingram and Aundre Jackson, who all graduated after last season. The three were key elements to last year’s run to the Final Four.
Two First-year Starters
Kaifes and first-year guard Isaiah Bujdoso were featured in the starting five against UIC after Williamson broke his hand during the Nevada game Nov. 27 and sophomore forward Aher Uguak was moved to the bench.
And a team chaplain praying pregame
Sister Jean. Enough said.