Missouri Valley Conference basketball is back on CSN on Wednesday as a doubleheader begins at 6 p.m.
In the first game, Loyola will travel to Wichita State to face the Shockers in a 6 p.m. tip while the second game features Northern Iowa traveling to Bradley in a game that tips at 8 p.m.
Loyola (12-5, 2-2) has won two straight games as Chicago products Milton Doyle (Marshall) and Donte Ingram (Simeon) are both playing well. Doyle barely missed a triple-double in a win over Northern Iowa and followed that up with a career-high 35 points in a win over Bradley. Ingram has returned from a knee injury to give the Ramblers a boost as he had 25 in the win over Northern Iowa.
Wichita State (14-3, 4-0) has won five straight as they once again look like one of the Valley's best teams. Junior forward Darral Willis Jr. leads the Shockers in scoring at 12.1 points per game while sophomore Markis McDuffie is putting up 11.8 points per game.
[RELATED: Complete NCAA coverage]
The second game of the doubleheader features Northern Iowa taking on Bradley. The Panthers (5-10, 0-4) have dropped five straight games as they're struggling to find help for senior guard Jeremy Morgan.
Bradley (7-10, 2-2) is coming off of a home loss to Loyola but they've had a solid bounceback season in head coach Brian Wardle's second year. The Braves only won five games all of last season as the roster has been revamped for this season.
Freshman guard Darrell Brown paces the Bradley offense at 12.2 points per game while junior forward JoJo McGlaston is putting up 9.6 points and 4.3 rebounds per game.
Loyola and Kansas State are playing in the most unlikely Elite Eight in history when they face on Saturday night. A No. 9 seed has never played a No. 11 seed in the men's NCAA tournament.
The No. 11 seed Ramblers have generated national excitement as the double-digit seed one game away from the Final Four. But Loyola still has to win a tough matchup against one of the best defensive teams in the country in Bruce Weber's ballclub.
Tempo is still one of the major factors for Loyola playing in its ultimate comfort zone. Thankfully for the Ramblers, No. 9 seed Kansas State is an ideal tempo matchup. Both teams like to play very slow.
The new key for Loyola in the Elite Eight will come down to perimeter shooting. As a team this season, the Ramblers are just under 40 percent from distance. The long ball has been a big part of the team's unlikely tournament run through three games as well. With multiple floor spacers, Loyola has a lot of weapons on the perimeter.
Kansas State is going to seriously challenge the Ramblers on every shot from three-point range. The Wildcats are in the Elite Eight in-part because of their ability to defend teams off of the three-point line.
So far in the 2018 NCAA tournament, Kansas State has held opponents to 26 percent shooting (18-for-68) from three-point range. Kentucky was known as a shaky perimeter-shooting team this season. UMBC (38 percent) and Creighton (37 percent) were both respected groups who could space the floor at multiple spots. The Wildcats made all three teams shoot very poorly from the perimeter as Kansas State was able to win despite not playing its best on offense.
That means Loyola will have to work to generate open looks from three. And when the Ramblers get clean looks from the perimeter, they also need to knock them down to advance to San Antonio.
The magical run for Loyola has already made it to this point. And it could continue if the Ramblers can knock down enough threes to put the pressure on Kansas State.
In this episode of the SportsTalk Live Podcast, Seth Gruen (Bleacher Report), Kevin Fishbain (The Athletic) and Madeline Kenney (Chicago Sun-Times) join Luke Stuckmeyer on the panel.
Loyola is in the Elite 8. Is it entire plausible that the Ramblers will make the title game? Plus, Vincent Goodwill joins Luke to talk NBA and the panel discusses why the Bulls should shut down Lauri Markkanen for the rest of the season.
Listen to the full episode at this link or in the embedded player below: