Busting Brackets

Dayton vs Loyola Chicago: 2023-24 college basketball game preview, TV schedule

We're in for a treat when these two teams face off on Friday night. Will the Flyers win a big game on the road, or will the Ramblers upset the No. 21 team in the nation?

Shriners Children's Charleston Classic - Day Two
Shriners Children's Charleston Classic - Day Two / Mitchell Layton/GettyImages

With the Atlantic 10 Tournament around the corner, we could get an early preview of the championship game when No. 21 Dayton heads to Loyola Chicago on Friday night. With both teams tied for second, we can expect a highly anticipated game.

TV schedule: Friday, March 1, 9:00 p.m. EST ESPN2

Arena: Joseph J. Gentile Arena in Chicago, Illinois

With the Atlantic 10 Tournament around the corner, we could get an early preview of the championship game when No. 21 Dayton heads to Loyola Chicago on Friday night. The Flyers are coming off an 80-66 victory over Davidson, where six players finished in double figures, and the team shot 12-for-28 from deep. The Ramblers are coming off a 79-64 road loss to St Bonaventure, where the Bonnies snapped Loyola Chicago's seven-game winning streak.

Friday night's matchup will feature two of the top three teams in the A-10 standings, and with the conference tournament about six weeks away, the outcome of this game could significantly alter the seeding of the bracket. Both teams are currently tied for second behind Richmond, so we can expect a highly anticipated game to start off March.

This will be the first meeting between Dayton and Loyola Chicago this season, and it could likely be the most important game left on the schedule for both programs. While the Flyers are favored -2.0, the Ramblers have been red hot in February, and an upset could be brewing as they prepare to get back in the win column in front of a home crowd.

Although Loyola Chicago has won eight of their last ten games, shooting struggles plagued the Ramblers in their most recent game against St Bonaventure. Loyola Chicago shot 38.2 percent from the field and 57.1 percent from the charity stripe, which hurt them especially late in the second half. Still, this performance should not define the incredible season the Ramblers are having after finishing 4-14 in the school's inaugural season in the Atlantic 10 a year ago.

Loyola Chicago is 20-8 overall and 12-3 in conference play this season. The Ramblers are led by the dynamic duo consisting of forward Philip Alston and guard Desmond Watson. Alston is averaging 12.8 points, 4.4 rebounds, and shooting 45.7 percent. Watson is averaging 12.7 points, 4.8 rebounds, 2.4 assists, 40.0 percent from behind the arc, and 42.1 percent from the field. The pair have led the Ramblers to key wins over Massachusetts, George Mason, Saint Joseph's, and Rhode Island. We can expect a competitive effort from the duo on Friday night when they match up with Daron Holmes II and company.

The Dayton Flyers are ranked 21st nationally, have a 22-5 record overall, and are tied with Loyola Chicago at 12-3 in conference play. While the team is undefeated at home, they have struggled a bit on the road this season with a 5-4 record; two of those losses came within the Flyers' last five games against VCU and George Mason. Still, the team has won seven of their last ten games, and a big reason for their continued success is junior forward Holmes II.

The 6-foot-10 forward is one of the most electric big men to come out of Dayton since Obi Toppin and is an early favorite to be named this year's Atlantic 10 Conference Player of the Year. This season, Holmes II leads the A-10 in points per game (20.0), shooting 55.3 percent from the field, and ranks third in the conference in rebounds (8.0) and blocks (2.1). We can expect Holmes II to continue his dominance on both ends of the floor on Friday night and create serious problems for the Ramblers in a close game environment.

Latest top-25 power rankings. dark. Next. Latest top-25 power rankings

While the game should be close and competitive, the Loyola Chicago Ramblers will come out victorious. They'll enter with a chip on their shoulder after a recent ugly loss to St Bonaventure after playing so well throughout February. The Flyers, on the other hand, have a 9-11 record against the spread when favored by two points or more this season. While we can expect Koby Brea and Holmes II to play exceptionally, I believe it will be the duo of Alston and Watson who outplay the Flyers as the Ramblers look to solidify themselves as the second-best team in the league down the stretch and even creep up on Richmond, who is ahead by a game.

Prediction: Loyola Chicago 77, Dayton 74