Throughout his freshman season, Loyola center Cameron Krutwig has been praised for his high basketball IQ.
It’s evident in the number of things he does well on the court, from passing to setting screens, protecting the basket without fouling and keeping rebounds alive.
He also was a basketball realist Tuesday when discussing what awaits him Saturday in the national semifinals. Michigan’s mobile big man Mo Wagner is going to be a tough matchup.
“He’s a great shooter. He’s a great ballhandler. He can drive you,” Krutwig said of Wagner. “So it’s going to be a tough matchup for me, for sure. It’s going to be a little bit more like Nevada in that sense, they play a little more guard-heavy lineup. It’s going to be a little bit of a chess match, for sure.”
Wagner is Michigan’s top scorer on the season at 14.3 point per game, but he hasn’t been great so far in the tournament. He had a 21-point game against Texas A&M but has led the team in scoring just once. Against Houston in the second round, the game Michigan won on Jordan Poole’s 3-pointer at the buzzer, Wagner and Muhammad-Ali Abdur-Rahkman tied for the team lead with 12 points.
“He (Wagner) goes on the outside a lot, but he goes inside more than the Nevada guys did, for sure,” Krutwig said. “They run a lot pick and pop with him. He gets out on the perimeter. He finds his way out there, but he starts low. So that’s a little bit different in the sense of Nevada and Michigan.”
Krutwig, from Jacobs High School in Algonquin, has averaged 10.3 points and 6.1 rebounds during his freshman season. He has been a vital part of Loyola’s success, but he doesn’t always need to be out there.
As mentioned above, Nevada in the regional semifinals presented some matchup problems. The Wolf Pack’s four main guys were all listed at 6-feet-7 and played on the perimeter. So while Krutwig had success scoring down low in that game, he sat out down the stretch for defensive reasons.
The Ramblers have a plan for that. They usually send in 6-5 senior Aundre Jackson, who can handle the mobile defensive assignments and hold his own on the boards. Six-foot-6 senior Donte Ingram has a slight edge over Krutwig for the team lead in rebounds.
“The Nevada game, I was too slow to guard those guys,” Krutwig said. “He (Jackson) comes in and he does his thing. He’s quicker than me, he can guard different positions. He’s a mismatch guy.
“I think that’s the great thing about this team. He comes in, does his job and after the game there’s no hard feelings or anything like that.
‘All these guys are selfless guys and just want to win and do whatever we can to win. If that means Dre’s got to play more than me, that means he’s got to play more than me. And vice versa.”