|#5 Loyola (18-13, 8-10 MVC) vs. #4 Southern Illinois (16-15, 9-9 MVC)|
|Date & Time||Friday, March 3, 2017 | 2:30 p.m CT|
|Location||St. Louis , Mo. | Scottrade Center|
|Coverage||Comcast SportsNet Chicago / ESPN3 | Live Stats|
|Additional Information||Twitter | Facebook | Loyola Game Notes|
- Loyola looks to win a Missouri Valley Conference Tournament game for the fourth straight year when it takes on No. 4 seed Southern Illinois Friday afternoon. This is the first time Loyola has won a league tournament game in three straight years since 2002-08, a streak of seven consecutive seasons.
- With 18 wins, Loyola has surpassed its total from last year (15) and is trying for just the program's third 20-win season since 1985 and the second in the last three years.
- Senior guard Milton Doyle is the first player in Loyola history to earn First Team All-MVC honors after putting up 15.5 points, 4.9 rebounds, 4.5 assists and 1.6 steals per game during the regular season. In fact, Doyle is the first Rambler to earn first team all-conference recognition in any league since Blake Schilb in 2006-07.
- Loyola collected 13 wins on its primary home floor during regular-season play for the first time since 1947-48. The Ramblers went 13-3 at Gentile Arena this season.
- The Ramblers' last four losses away from home have come by a combined seven points. Loyola is 0-8 this season in games decided by five points or less and is tied for seventh in the nation with six losses by three points or less.
- When the NCAA released the latest Graduation Success Rate (GSR) scores in November, Loyola was tied with Harvard University for first among all Division I schools with a 99 percent GSR. A year ago, Loyola ranked tied for third in the country.
Loyola is 28-37 (.431) all-time in conference tournament play. Under head coach Porter Moser, the Ramblers are 3-3 at Arch Madness and 3-5 overall in conference tournament play (0-2 in Horizon League Tournament). Moser has guided Loyola to at least one conference tournament victory in each of the last three years. The last time the Ramblers had a streak that long was 2002-08 when they notched a postseason win in seven consecutive seasons. Two members of the Loyola coaching staff have been part of MVC Tournament championship teams. Head coach Porter Moser was a starter on the 1989 Creighton team that slipped past Southern Illinois, 79-77, in the title game in Wichita, Kan., while assistant coach Bryan Mullins was a starter on the Salukis' 2006 championship team that defeated Bradley, 59-46. Mullins pitched in three rebounds and a pair of steals in that game.
Loyola - Southern Illinois
Loyola and Southern Illinois are meeting for the 11th time in a series that began in 1981. Six of the previous ten games between these teams have been decided by seven points or less and the Salukis hold a slight 6-4 edge in the all-time series. SIU has claimed three of the last five meetings between the teams and swept the 2016-17 season series, winning 67-61 in Chicago on February 4 before squeaking by with a 72-70 victory last Saturday in Carbondale. Since joining the Missouri Valley Conference, Loyola is 2-6 against Southern Illinois and this will be first postseason meeting between the in-state rivals. Last Saturday, Armon Fletcher's three-pointer with 17 seconds remaining provided the winning margin as the Salukis pulled out a 72-70 victory in a game that had major impact on tournament seeding. Clayton Custer scored 21 points, his most since November 13, to lead Loyola.
Scouting Southern Illinois
The Salukis have won two of their last three games and come Friday will be playing their first game on a neutral floor this season. SIU is just 5-7 in its last 11 contests, though four of its setbacks in that stretch have come by five points or less. Senior guard Mike Rodriguez leads Southern Illinois with 12.8 ppg and 4.0 apg, but it is senior forward Sean O'Brien who has been a thorn in the Ramblers' side this year. The Second Team All-MVC pick, who averages 12.4 ppg and 8.5 rpg for the season, has put up 18.0 ppg, 11.5 rpg, 4.5 apg and 2.0 spg, while shooting 76.1 percent (16-for-21) from the field, in two games against Loyola in 2016-17. SIU ranks sixth in the Valley field goal percentage (.438) and 10th in three-point field goal percentage (.317), but connected on 53.1 percent (51-for-96) of its tries from the field, including 50 percent (13-for-26) from downtown, against Loyola this year.