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30 Marcha 2018, 07:30 | Gerardo Tarin
Excitement builds on Loyola Chicago campus ahead of Final Four game
That was the last time zero No. 1 seeds made the Final Four and also the last time a No. 11 did: VCU.
The Ramblers are scheduled to take on No. 3 seed University of MI in the NCAA Tournament semifinal March 31 in San Antonio at 5:09 p.m. CDT.
How did each team get here?
No path is easy.
"It's wonderful because what it's doing is just highlighting a lot of the universal values that we all share that sometimes get buried underneath all the other coverage", Father Hagan said about Sister Jean being in the spotlight. So, I was friendly with him and we used to play golf in those days before he realized how bad I was. Let's break down how MI got here.
Yarnold has been going to games since she arrived at Loyola and watched an unselfish team grow over the course of the season.
But thanks to a buzzer-beating 3-pointer from roughly 30-feet by Jordan Poole that beat Houston in the second round and stellar defense throughout, MI has advanced to its second Final Four in the past six years.
Kansas, Villanova and MI are Final Four regulars, while Loyola University -Chicago seems misplaced, like it has arrived at this idyllic destination by accident after somehow taking a fortunate wrong train on the "L".
With the Ramblers once again on the verge of a national championship, the spirit of 1963 seems alive on Loyola's lakefront campus. Now he's two wins from a national title. Should be an easy win right? "I don't get into one-on-one matchups or whatnot, but I'm happy for a team from Chicago to be here; especially all the negativity that you hear amongst the city". What is making the nation notice this team is not the color of the players but how they play and win as a team. "At the beginning of the season, I wouldn't have guessed they'd be in the Final Four". There's plenty of reasons to cheer for this Cinderella team.
The Ramblers have the 19th best defensive efficiency in the country and a top 50 offense in the country according to KenPom.
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Custer averages 13.2 PPG which leads the Ramblers. Rice averaged 31 points in the tournament, and scored exactly 31 in Michigan's title game victory over Seton Hall. For a small PG, he likes to attack and pull up for some mid range shots. This was more subtle, thanks to a game and its outcome that has been largely overshadowed in part because a movie. Before their most recent game against Kansas State, the Loyola Ramblers mapped out every one of their opponent's plays, figuring out counters. All were No. 11 seeds that reached the Final Four. But it had been 33 years since they'd even earned an invite to Big Dance.
Loyola is a perfectly compatible collection of players who have known and played with or against each other for years - in the case of Custer and Richardson, since 3rd grade. He plays physical which allows him to be effective down low despite only being 6'6. "He's a special player and, but the time he's gone from here, he's going to be one of the better players that's ever played at Loyola". He has been somewhat quiet during this tournament run but expect him to come out aggressive against MI and try to out-quick the bigger MI forwards. They are cerebral and read defenses great and that's sort of the premise MI is used to. He also chatted with him last Friday night. "A MI man is going to coach MI". And we've just gotten more and more confidence. The total is just 129.5, and bettors at William Hill US are hammering the over.
However, they matter far more than that. If Zavier keeps playing incredible on-ball defense and Matthews and MAAR continue to lock-down the wings, Loyola-Chicago will have a really tough time scoring.
Whereas the MI athletic department is awash in lucrative TV contracts and carries the banner for the Jordan Brand, the Ramblers represent the hopes of all mid-major conference programs without Power 5 football revenue to support them.
Listen to Lucas Williamson, the 20-minutes-a-game freshman, when asked what he knew about Loyola before coming to Loyola: "Not too much, actually". If he can't guard Wagner on pick-and-roll or pick-and-pop, his playing time could be limited, which could hurt the Ramblers on both sides of the ball.
Michigan's 1989 team entered the season with a lot more hype than this 2017-18 MI team did.
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