The Ramblers of Loyola- Chicago have shocked the world by booking a spot into the Final Four (not to mention they were the first to do so!). They will be joined by Michigan, Villanova and Kansas. It’s no surprise to many that the latter three made it this far, as they are more familiar with the tournament. Loyola however, they haven’t gotten this far in a tournament since they last won it in 1963! That beautiful little tidbit during their Elite 8 match up made their run even more special (oh and Sister Jean of Course!).
Shattering Expectations and Busting Brackets
The Ramblers won the MVC Tournament against Illinois State, making their first tourney in 33 years. They were seeded 11th and faced Miami in the first round. Now, I’m sure most people were absolutely devastated by that buzzer-beater hit by Donte Ingram, in which they knocked of the Hurricanes. But people weren’t too concerned, considering they had to play #3 Tennessee next… big mistake. This time it was a Clayton Custer jumper with about 3 seconds left that crushed more brackets, as the Ramblers won a thriller 63-62. You would think by now people would stop betting against the Ramblers— but no. This team CONTINUED to exceed expectations and bust second-chance brackets by beating #7 Nevada in another thriller 69-68 and #9 Kansas State 78-62. Marques Townes put them up against Nevada with a very late three, and the Kansas State win came a bit easier.
Can the Ramblers Win It All?
After watching this tournament, anything is possible! I mean, we’ve got an 11-seed in the Final Four, along with two 1-seeds and a 3-seed. Villanova, Kansas and Michigan aren’t playing games, and haven’t been throughout their tournament run. They got here the same way the Ramblers did: blood, sweat and tears. Though, I could also say that being a lower seed makes for an easier road. Then again, we did see what happened to Xavier, Arizona, UNC, etc. Let’s look at some bumps that the lower seeds had:
- Michigan was almost sent packing by #6 Houston and Rob Gray. Freshman Jordan Poole saved the day with a 3-pointer. Their highest scorers only had 12 points and they shot poorly from the floor and three: 36% and 27%, respectively. Michigan is lucky they got out alive.
- Villanova had a small hiccup early. They almost didn’t get that 1 seed, in that they had to go into OT against Providence for the Big East Championship Title. After that, it was pretty much smooth sailing. Jay Wright and his guys have reputations to uphold.
- Kansas’ scare came against Duke, and that should be no surprise. They won 85-81 in OT, but I’m sure they knew Duke wasn’t going down without a fight. And even with a team sprawling with freshmen, if their coach is Krzyzewski you better be on your toes.
Personally, I’m done predicting. I’m just going to watch and enjoy what’s left of this tournament. But what does everyone else think???
Also, kudos to Ramblers coach Porter Moser. You did a hell of a job this year. Let’s keep it rolling!