CCR Game Day: Loyola (IL) Ramblers at Northern Iowa Panthers

Wes Washpun is Northern Iowa's leading scorer headed into today's game. Can the Panthers make run to get them into the tournament? Source: Ezra Shaw/Getty Images
Wes Washpun is Northern Iowa’s leading scorer headed into today’s game. Can the Panthers make run to get them into the tournament?
Source: Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

It’s a Missouri Valley Conference edition of College Court Report Game Day! This afternoon, the Loyola (IL) Ramblers travel to Cedar Falls, Iowa to take on the Northern Iowa Panthers, in a battle of two teams who are looking to get on the right track in conference play.

Maverick B. previews tonight’s game by looking at several key areas, including some projected starting lineups, top role player match-ups to watch, and some background information on both teams and coaches that could be a big factor in tonight’s contest.

Today’s game can be seen on ESPN3 with tip-off at 4:00pm ET! Scroll on down to take a look at College Court Report’s official Loyola (IL) vs Northern Iowa preview.

Maverick’s Scouting Report on Loyola

The Ramblers enter tonight’s game with a 7-10 record overall, and are 0-5 in MVC play. They are looking looking for their first conference and road victory this season.

Offensively, the Ramblers have a trio of guards leading the way;

  • Milton Doyle: 11.3 points and 3.4 assists per game; 37.0% 3PT
  • Devon Turk: 10.8 points and 3.0 rebounds per game; 43.6% FG
  • Earl Peterson: 10.2 points and 2.6 assists per game; 47.6% 3PT

Devon Turk is a player that Northern Iowa’s guards will need to keep their eyes on all game. Turk has had a stellar collegiate career, scoring over 1,000 points in his career (only 41 players have achieved this).

He also currently ranks 2nd behind Evansville guard D.J. Balentine in career three pointers made (236; Balentine has 237). Turk will need to have a strong game tonight from three point range to improve Loyola’s chances to win.

In the front court for Loyola, look for senior forward Montel James to have a strong performance. The 6’7”, 220-pound forward is averaging 12.6 points and 6.7 rebounds over his last seven games, while shooting 43.2% from the floor over that time.

Coming off the bench, the Ramblers will have the services of sophomore guards Ben Richardson (4.8 ppg, 1.4 apg; 41.7% FG) and Tyson Smith (4.3 ppg, 1.4 rpg; 40.7% 3PT).

Photo: Kendall Shaw/Associated Press
Milton Doyle is the Ramblers leading scorer at this point in the season. If Loyola wants to get their first MVC win of the season, Doyle will have to have a strong performance. Photo: Kendall Shaw/Associated Press

Factors that can Improve the Ramblers’ Chances

1) Score over 70 points tonight vs Northern Iowa

  • Loyola is 2-0 this season when they score over 70 points (76-64  vs. UTSA; 72-67 vs Western Illinois)

2) Make over 50% of your field goals tonight 

  • Loyola is 3-0 this season when they make 50 FG% in a game

3) Hold Northern Iowa to 60-69 points for the game

  • Loyola is 4-1 when their opponent score this margin this season

Factors that can Impact the Ramblers’ Chances

  1.  The Ramblers only two players that are taller than 6-7
  •   Julius Rajala —  (6-9  215;      2.4ppg  1.9rpg)
  •   Maurice Kirby — (6-9  240;   1.6ppg  1.5rpg)

2.  The Ramblers have a lower Assist/Turnover ratio  than UNI

  • Loyola has a  .92 assist/turnover ratio 
  • Northern Iowa has a 1.2 assist/turnover ratio 

3. The Ramblers will need to crash the defensive glass 

  • Loyola’s defensive rebounds total is 376 this season
  • Northern Iowa’s defensive rebounds total is 444 this season

4. Loyola allows more points per game than they score per game

  • Loyola’s offensive points per game = 62.8
  • Loyola’s defensive points per game = 63.5

Projected Starting Lineup

G  Earl Peterson (Senior, 6’3”, 180 pounds)

G  Devon Turk (Senior, 6’4”, 195 pounds)

G  Milton Doyle (Junior, 6’4”, 185 pounds)

F  Donte Ingram (Sophomore, 6’6”, 215 pounds)

F  Montel James (Senior, 6’7”, 220 pounds)

Bennett’s Scouting Report on Northern Iowa

A season after surprising everyone with their march to the top in the Missouri Valley Conference, the Northern Iowa Panthers seem to hast some of their swagger in 2015-16.

The departure of Seth Tuttle in the paint has been felt all across the roster, and the Panthers are still looking for someone to step up and fill the void inside. Sophomore forward Bennett Koch is the lone forward in the starting lineup this season, but he isn’t the calibre of player that Tuttle was. Koch has the potential and the tools to be a strong player, he just needs to develop more and gain more experience. As the games move on, he is improving each night out, and has the potential to become an impact forward in the conference throughout the remainder of his career.

With the lack of interior presence, the Panthers have gone to a 4-guard system in the starting lineup. Wes Washpun and Jeremy Morgan have led the way on offense, and give the team one of the better back court scoring duos in the conference.

The team goes as Washpun and Morgan go. If they have an off night, the Panthers tend to struggle. However, if they are on their A-game, Northern Iowa can beat anyone in the country (North Carolina knows that all too well).

Northern Iowa will need their guards to keep up their strong play, and Koch to continue his strong play since conference play began to avoid another let-down performance, this time against the Loyola (IL) Ramblers.

Factors that can Spark the Panthers’ Chances

  1. Bennett Koch has been one of the best players since MVC play
  • Koch is currently averaging 11.6 points per game on 71.9% shooting in MVC play.

2. Wes Washpun is one of the more underrated ball distributors in the nation.

  • Washpun averages 5.6 assists per game, ranking 26th in the nation.

3.  Home court advantage against Loyola (IL) in the series 

  • Northern Iowa is currently 5-0 in games located in Cedar Falls, IA

Biggest Factor that can Impact the Panthers’ Chances

  1. Roster depth and production for the Panthers this season 
  • Outside of the projected starting lineup for the Panthers, they have only had 3 other players play double-digit games: Klint Carlson (7.3 ppg), Wyatt Lohaus (4.4 ppg), Ted Friedman (1.4 ppg)

Projected Starting Lineup

G  Wes Washpun (Senior, 6’1”, 175 pounds)

G  Matt Bohannon (Senior, 6’4”, 195 pounds)

G  Paul Jesperson (Senior, 6’6”, 206 pounds)

G  Jeremy Morgan (Junior, 6’5”, 192 pounds)

F   Bennett Koch (Sophomore, 6’9”, 232 pounds)

Did You Know?

– Loyola (IL) enter today’s game with five consecutive loses.

– Three of Loyola’s last five loses have been by a combined 5 pts.

–  Northern Iowa is 6-1 at home, while Loyola is 0-4 on the road.

– Northern Iowa leads the series against Loyola, 9-2. 

– Northern Iowa leads the MVC conference with team three pointers made (157). 

– Northern Iowa has the longest streak in MVC conference of consecutive games with at least one made three pointer (513 straight games)