- The Washington Times - Sunday, March 11, 2012

LOYOLA

Record: 24-8, 13-5

Coach: Jimmy Patsos (122-122, eighth season)

Conference: Metro Atlantic (automatic bid)

Last NCAA appearance: 1994 (first round)

Starters, Pos., Yr., Pts.

R.J. Williams, G, Fr., 4.0

Dylon Cormier, G, So., 13.4

Robert Olson, G, Jr., 11.2

Erik Etherly, F, Jr., 13.5

Shane Walker, F, Sr., 9.1

Critical juncture: A weekend trip in January revealed plenty about the Greyhounds. They rallied from 15 points down to defeat Fairfield, the sort of game Loyola wouldn’t have won the previous few years. The Greyhounds lost two days later at Iona, a setback that left them thoroughly unsatisfied. They would beat Iona at home a month later and Fairfield again in the MAAC title game.

Reason for optimism: Depth. Loyola can go 10 deep if Patsos is so inclined and usually rotates nine men. The scorer’s table sometimes feels like a revolving door, but the Greyhounds aren’t overly dependent upon a single player to thrive.

Reason for pessimism: Outside shooting. The Greyhounds were a middle-of-the-pack team in 3-point percentage in the MAAC, and as a team they’ve made exactly five per game. Robert Olson is an effective gunner, but he’s the only Loyola player averaging more than one 3-pointer an outing.

Wild card: Reserves Justin Drummond and Anthony Winbush. Both are D.C.-area products (Drummond attended Riverdale Baptist in Maryland, while Winbush played at Alexandria’s T.C. Williams High) who provide a jolt on offense and defense, respectively. When both play well, Loyola’s tough to stop.

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