- The Ramblers are moving on.
Basketball and religion go hand in hand on the Rogers Park campus, as they always should, but lest anyone forget, the players showing faith in each other carried Loyola to the program's first Sweet 16 appearance since 1985 more than any other factor.
The growing national celebrity of Loyola's 98-year-old chaplain - a petition circulated Sunday to get Sister Jean on "Ellen" - only deepened the impression that somehow the Ramblers' prayers get answered first.
So 11th-seeded Loyola faces seventh-seeded Nevada for the right to go to the Elite Eight on Thursday.
The region has been insane up to this point. Nevada has had two incredible comebacks against Texas and Cincinnati to advance to the Sweet 16 and has been led this season by their offense that ranks 16th in scoring offense, 55th in FG%, and 21st in 3P-FG%. Both have earned plenty of camera time during games. Another last-second shot, this one an off-balance jumper by floor general Clayton Custer, to knock off No. 3 Tennessee.
"We did a good job this year when it comes to putting kind of Tennessee back on the map", Williams said. She tells us who their best players are and what to watch out for.
"It's what makes March Madness special and it kills the coaches because it's so hard and you think you have a great team".
"All we can do is build on it", Tennessee forward Admiral Schofield said.
Five years ago, the NCAA picked a theme song for their coverage of the Division I Men's Basketball tournament.
With a twist, that is. "We talked to God before the game", said team chaplain Sister Jean Dolores-Schmidt.
"We're going to have to prove Sister Jean wrong on this one", Custer said. Next it will play 7-seed Nevada on Thursday. "Oh, thank God, thank God we did it, because we knew we would do it", replied Sr. And you can bet more than a few Tennessee players and fans looked toward the heavens for help Saturday in the final minutes. Under Huggins, the Mountaineers have become a force in the Big 12 and no longer think scheduling the Thundering Herd is worthwhile despite pleas from fans and even the brief discussion of state legislative action to force the series to resume. "And at the end, she'll literally pray that we come out on top". The Blue Devils (28-7) will play either Michigan State or Syracuse in the Midwest Region semifinals in Omaha, Nebraska next Friday. "It's not that. It's not that at all".
The most satisfying way to relive UMBC's historic first-round upset of top-seeded Virginia is not by watching a replay of the game or even highlights.
"I think what you see happening in college basketball, it's nearly like a revolution", FSU coach Leonard Hamilton said. We've lost leads and found ways to win games. "We can't assume anything. take it one day at a time because tomorrow's never promised in this tournament".
The Wolf Pack stormed back from a 14-point deficit in the first round to beat Texas 87-83, then erased a 22-point deficit in the final 11 minutes against second-seeded Cincinnati's tough defense for a 75-73 win Sunday night.
Heading into Sunday's matchup against Michigan State, the Orange are the only one of four NY teams still standing.
"My good vibes are coming from how this team's playing, how unselfishly they play", Villanova coach Jay Wright said after Saturday's win against Alabama. It held Arizona State to 56 points and beat TCU 57-52 in the first round.
Buffalo (27-9) was led by Wes Clark, the former Missouri player who got a measure of the redemption he sought by scoring 26 points.
A last-gasp shot from the Vols' Jordan Bone bounced away, and Custer threw the ball off the scoreboard high above the court as he was mobbed by teammates in the same spot that the Ramblers celebrates Ingram's dramatic victor. "And when you finally get that open shot, you start second-guessing it because you haven't got an open shot the whole game".