This afternoon, the Loyola, Md. Greyhounds make the trip over from Baltimore to challenge the Kentucky Wildcats in Rupp Arena. The essential facts about the Greyhounds are as follows:
|Loyola (MD) Need-To-Know Facts|
|Colors||Green and Grey|
|NCAA Affiliation||Division I|
|Conference||Metro Atlantic Athletic|
|Head Coach||Jimmy Patsos|
|Record at Loyola||106-116|
|NCAA Tournament Appearances||1 (1994)|
|MAAC Championships||1 (1994)|
As with many of the lesser teams on Kentucky's schedule this year, the Greyhounds also have a UK connection. G.G. Smith, eldest of former UK and current Minnesota head coach Tubby Smith, is an assistant to Loyola head man Jimmy Patsos. Coach Patsos came to Loyola from the Maryland Terrapins, where he was an assistant to former head coach Gary Willaims from 1991-2004.
This will be the first ever meeting between Loyola and Kentucky, but coach Patsos faced UK five times while he was an assistant at Maryland going 2-3, including a victory in 2002 when Maryland went on to win the NCAA Tournament. Loyola is coming off a loss on the road to the St. Bonaventure Bonnies. Loyola is 8-2 on the season so far, their best start in history as a Division I competitor.
|1||Anthony Winbush||6-7||194||G/F||Maj. Reserve||Junior||45.0||14.5||72.1||22.9||11.4||7.8||13.1||3.9||0.6||1,6,|
|2||Justin Drummond||6-4||187||Maj. Reserve||Sophomore||61.0||27.2||98.7||40.0||9.9||11.1||7.9||2.4||1.8||1,3,|
|20||Pierson Williams||6-3||184||Deep Reserve||Sophomore||7.5||0.0||0.0||0.0||0.0||0.0||0.0||0.0||0.0|
|23||Tyler Hubbard||6-1||165||Deep Reserve||Freshman||Possible redshirt|
|24||Erik Etherly||6-7||225||Sixth Man||Junior||76.0||21.7||106.5||52.6||21.1||8.2||15.0||2.5||2.9||2,5,|
|30||Julius Brooks||6-9||225||Deep Reserve||Junior||9.2||9.6||49.5||25.0||9.8||5.8||4.9||1.6||2.9|
|33||Luke Wandrusch||6-1||186||Deep Reserve||Junior||Played under 1 minute in 2 games, no stats amassed.|
|34||Chido Onyiuke||6-6||198||Deep Reserve||Sophomore||Possible redshirt|
|1||Has started this season|
|2||2nd most minutes on team|
|7||Gets to the line a lot|
At first blush, the Greyhounds may just seem another lowly opponent to come into Rupp for a trip to the Big Blue woodshed, but you should disabuse yourself of that notion immediately. This team has talent, and skill, and is dangerous enough to deserve the Wildcats' full attention.
Although Loyola has played a relatively easy schedule, they went on the road and beat a pretty good George Washington team by 10 two weeks ago, and even though they had an off game against St. Bonaventure where they really shot the ball poorly from three, this team is dangerous compared to our most recent opponents.
The problem for the Greyhounds is that they have not shot the ball well from the this year, but are capable of shooting it much better. You sometimes see this in teams with fairly talented players, and the worry is that they could erupt at any time and give better teams major headaches.
The Greyhounds return a lot of their team from last year, and have multiple upperclassmen who are major contributors. They are also not a small team, so Kentucky will not be able to dominate them with size.
The Greyhounds are an excellent offensive rebounding team, and they get to the free throw line. A lot. This team has multiple weapons that can hurt you from the perimeter, and a slashing guard who can put defenders in foul trouble. Loyola is also an excellent defensive team that ranks 34th in the country in steals%. Their big weaknesses have been ballhandling and shooting.
It isn't necessary to overstate the threat of Loyola, they are still vastly inferior athletically and skill wise. They would have to play a perfect game and get help from UK to pull off the upset in Rupp Arena, but given the proximity of the Louisville game and a couple of recent blowouts, this almost has the feel of a mini-trap game.
Kentucky must play the Greyhounds honestly, or be in for one of those contests that start people wondering about the Wildcats' vulnerability. To give you a comparison, the Greyhounds are roughly similar, in Ken Pomeroy's rating, to the Charleston Cougars team that gave Louisville a good scare in the Chicken Ranch the other night.
So before you think this will be another uncompetitive contest against a vastly inferior opponent, think again. It may be that UK wins big, but this Loyola team is capable, and it is unwise to take them lightly.