National Championship Game Preview
First and foremost, congratulations to both of these squads on a really fantastic season. These have arguably been the best two team in the NAIA for most of the season. We even had them 1 and 2 in our own rankings for a couple of weeks, have had Loyola #1 for a majority of the season and have had Talladega Top 16 for almost the entire season. That is how good they have both been. For this one though, you can throw out the ‘Tale of the Tape’ as not only is this Round 4 between the two Southern States Athletic Conference teams this season. It is also a Championship game, which means the first 10-15 minutes will all be adrenaline. Then as the two teams settle in, the nerves ease, and we get back to some basketball, the final 30 minutes should be really fun to watch!
Loyola Top Stats
- 2nd in the NAIA in points per game at 89.4ppg.
- 3rd in the NAIA in Offensive Rebounds per game (15.5)
- 2nd in the NAIA in Assists per game (19.9)
- 1st in the NAIA in Steals per game (13.8)
- The only program at any level, both men and women, to average more steals per game (13.8) then turnovers per game (13.4).
- Zach Wrightsil and Myles Burns are arguably two of the Top 4-5 players in the NAIA.
- Burns leads the NAIA in steals per game (4.1)
Talladega Top Stats
- 9th in 3 pointers made per game (9.9)
- 7th in 3 point percentage (38.4%)
- 1st in points allowed per game (58.8)
- 3rd in opponents FG% (38.4)
- 7th in opponent 3FG% (28.5)
- Cam Potts leads the NAIA in Assists per game (6.7)
Loyola Probable Starters
#10 Brandon Davis – 6’1 SO – 15.5ppg, 3.0rpg, 4.3apg, 2.1spg
#22 Andrew Fava – 5’10 SR – 9.8ppg, 1.4rpg, 2.2apg
#03 Myles Burns 6’6 SR -14.8ppg, 8.3rpg, 3.6apg, 4.1spg
#23 Zach Wrightsil 6’7 SR – 18.7ppg, 8.7rpg, 3.6apg, 2.0spg SSAC POY
#34 Terry Smith Jr – 6’5 SR – 8.7ppg, 5.1rpg
Talladega Probable Starters
#0 Cam Potts 6’1 SR – 8.3ppg, 4.2rpg, 6.6apg
#23 Jervay Green 6’3 SR – 9.8ppg, 4.3rpg, 2.3apg
#3 Darryl Baker 6’4 SR – 19.3ppg, 3.7rpg, 2.4apg
#35 Davion Thomas 6’9 SR – 6.7ppg, 3.8rpg
#34 Amir Yusuf 6’9 SR -7.0ppg, 6.3rpg
This is the 4th time these two teams will meet up this year. Matter of fact, this will be the 4th meeting since February 12th between the two Southern States Athletic Conference foes. Loyola has won all 3 of the previous games;
- February 12th game was by 8 in OT
- February 20th game was by 6.
- February 26th game was by 10 for the SSAC Tournament Championship.
Those 3 wins helped lead Loyola to both the Regular Season and Tournament SSAC Championships. They can go for the trifecta and most important Title tonight. For Dega, they have really battled Loyola in some really great games. You can’t expect them to come into this game and play afraid. They are the BEST defensive team in the NAIA and while they don’t turn people over like Loyola does, they force teams into tough shots. On the surface it looks like the best defensive team vs one of the best offensive teams, but in reality, a lot of Loyola’s points come from the fact that they too, are really good defensively. They are able to manufacture a lot of points off of their 1-3-1 pressure defense. Which in return leads to a lot of Myles Burns dunks. It also means a lot of possessions, so while they do play up-tempo, they aren’t your typical “out score you” type of high scoring team. Both of these teams are so talented on both ends of the floor and while they both have their primary scorers, it’s their role guys and bench players who have honestly came up big in the tourney to help get both teams here. There won’t be any secrets between the two squads, just talent vs talent with two teams that play hard, play with a lot of energy, and use defensive stops to fuel the fire.
Loyola Keys To Victory
- Limit Turnovers
- A crazy stat this season is that Loyola actually has a minus 11 turnover margin in the 3 games against Talladega.
- Control the pace of the game (Up-tempo)
- Push game into the 80’s
- Limit open 3’s
- Talladega is one of the best in the NAIA in both 3 pointers made and 3pt %. Can’t let the great equalizer beat you!
Talladega Keys To Victory
- Limit turnovers
- As they have done all year against Loyola.
- Win the rebounding battle
- While they have won the turnover battle in these matchups this year, they have been almost outrebounded by 18rebs per game in the 3 matchups.
- Control the pace (No track meet)
- Keep Loyola under 75pts and they have a shot to win this one.
- Handle the famous Loyola Runs
- Loyola goes on these long scoring runs to put teams away, have to avoid those runs to give yourself a shot!