Two teams known for historic Final Four runs squared off on Wednesday night to kick off their seasons at the Barstool Sports Invitational at Wintrust Arena in Chicago. After 40 minutes of play, No. 10 ranked FAU bested the Loyola Ramblers by a score of 75-62, snapping Loyola’s streak of 11 consecutive wins in season-openers. Here are three observations from the game:
Turnovers are still an issue
The Ramblers were one of the top teams in the nation in turnovers, with 15 per game. After a long offseason, it’s clear these problems still exist. The Rambler offense looked strong at times but could never capitalize on their momentum, turning the ball over a total of 18 times. FAU, in turn, capitalized on the opportunity given to them, converting for 27 points off of the turnover.
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FAU’s size advantage came out in force
The Ramblers were severely outsized against FAU, and it showed. The Owls feasted in the paint, taking advantage of 24 points in the paint. Loyola had no answer for 7’1” junior Vladislav Goldin, as the center led all scorers with 19 points. Goldin also led the game with 10 rebounds for his first double-double of the season while also collecting all five of his team’s blocks.
Ramblers hold firm in the rebound department
Give the Ramblers some credit, at least. They were able to stay competitive at points against one of the top offensive teams of last season. One of the ways they were able to do so was through their rebounds, especially on the defensive side. Last season, FAU ranked sixteenth in the nation in defensive rebounds, with a clip of 27.9 per game. Despite the size advantage, the Ramblers were able to go toe-to-toe with the Owls, tallying 23 defensive rebounds to FAU’s 24. Overall the Ramblers finished with only two fewer rebounds in the game, with FAU grabbing 33 boards to Loyola’s 31.
The Ramblers will now prepare for their official home opener, taking on Eastern Illinois on Saturday, with tipoff set for 7:00 p.m. on NBC Sports Chicago+.