The No. 6 seed Miami (Fla.) Hurricanes will take on the 11th-seeded Loyola-Chicago Ramblers in a first-round matchup in the South Region on Thursday. The game will be played at American Airlines Arena in Dallas, Tex. Tip-off time is approximately 3:10 p.m. ET.
Preview: The Hurricanes (22-9) were the No. 3 seed in the ACC Tournament, but lost in the quarterfinals to North Carolina. They are a physical, athletic bunch led by sparkplug point guard Chris Lykes, high-flying Lonnie Walker Jr. and bruising Dewan Huell.
The Ramblers (28-5) won the Missouri Valley Conference to earn their NCAA bid. They have a balanced attack, featuring five players in double figures. Junior guard Clayton Custer (13.4 ppg) leads the way for Loyola.
Date: Thursday, March 15th
Time: 3:10 p.m. ET
TV Channel: truTV
Location: American Airlines Arena in Dallas, Tex.
Announcers: Spero Dedes / Steve Smith / Len Elmore / Ros Gold-Onwude
Opening Betting Line: Miami -3 via 5Dimes
Miami is making its 10th appearance in the NCAA Tournament. It is their third trip in a row.
Loyola, meanwhile, has not made the Big Dance since 1985. They have been to six NCAA Tournaments and they have something Miami doesn't: a national championship, won back in 1963.
Prediction: The Ramblers are going to be a trendy upset pick given their overall record and the fact Miami lost early in the ACC Tournament. However, we think Miami, hardened by a full season in a tough conference, pulls it out.
Led by their size and athleticism, Miami wins this one.