After a memorable Final Four run that captured the nation's attention, Loyola returns to the court with its 2018-19 regular season debut on NBC Sports Chicago.
The Ramblers open the new campaign with a home game at Gentile Arena against UMKC in a game that tips off at 8 p.m. Tuesday night's opener will also be special as Loyola raises the Final Four banner to commemorate last season.
Loyola is coming off of a 32-6 season that saw them win the Missouri Valley Conference by four games before taking the country by storm with a memorable run in March. The Ramblers lost some key pieces from last season -- including wing Donte Ingram and guard Ben Richardson. But much of the team's core is back for another potential run.
Reigning MVC Conference Player of the Year Clayton Custer is back at point guard for Loyola and the senior is flanked by returning double-figure scorers like senior guard Marques Townes and sophomore center Cameron Krutwig. Loyola is also expecting some role players from last season to make a leap, as expectations are high for sophomore Lucas Williamson entering the season.
The Ramblers hope to extend a 15-game nonconference home winning streak by knocking off UMKC for a second consecutive season. The Kangaroos hosted Loyola last season, as the Ramblers rallied after trailing by halftime to win, 66-56. Coming off of a 10-22 season, the Kangaroos are led by junior guard Xavier Bishop -- a former standout at Springfield Lanphier standout.
Before Loyola takes the floor against UMKC, NBC Sports Chicago will also air Illinois State's season-opening game as the Redbirds will host Florida Gulf Coast at 6 p.m. Both in-state programs will have more games on NBC Sports Chicago throughout the 2018-19 season, as both Missouri Valley Conference programs as expected to compete for the league title.