Not many teams in college basketball entered the NCAA Tournament hotter than Illinois, but the Fighting Illini are struggling mightily against No. 8 seed Loyola Chicago in this year’s Round of 32.

The Ramblers dominated the entire half from start to finish, leading by as many as 14 points through the first 20 minutes and taking a 33-24 lead into the half. The Illini did have some success to close out the half, scoring the final 5 points to make it a single-digit contest entering the second half.

Illinois’ 24 points was a first half low for the team this season.

Loyola Chicago’s Cameron Krutwig is on his way to a double-double, scoring 8 points and grabbing 6 rebounds to lead the way. Keith Clemons scored 7 points and Marquise Kennedy pitched in with 6 off the bench to lead the way for the Ramblers.

Kofi Cockburn was the leader for Illinois with 7 first half points. Ayo Dosunmu was held to just 4 points on 2-of-4 shooting from the floor,

The Ramblers’ defense suffocated the Fighting Illini, forcing 9 turnovers and holding Illinois to just 38.5% shooting in the half. Loyola Chicago also outrebound Illinois 17-16.

If Illinois doesn’t mount a comeback in the second half, it will be the first No. 1 seed to fall in 2021.