(Full disclosure: I've never been to a donkey show. But I've heard they're something else)
Sorry for the delay on this. I tried to let the champagne dry up from Illinois' first championship in school history before I rained on their parade. Really was an amazing run these past two months. Culminating in a nail-biter the other afternoon. Hats off to the Fighting Illini.
I'm a team player so I can appreciate the Illini bringing home the second NCAA Championship in the state of Illinois' rich basketball history. (Loyola has the other one, 1963)
Wait, what's that?
Illinois only won the Big 10 Championship? Not the National Championship?
Stop it. Surely you jest.
The celebration and crowning that's gone on the last 24 hours says differently.
But if I'm wrong I'm wrong. Maybe there is still a 3 weeks tournament left to play.
Which means they will still have to go through #8 seed Loyola Chicago next weekend.
Thanks to the committee for a real bang-up job on seeding this baby.
Not only did the AP completely shit on Loyola all year up until about 4 weeks ago when they finally ranked the Ramblers, that went on to finish 24-4 mind you. But now the committee straight-up thought it was fair and just to stick the #18th ranked team in the country, who happens to be 9th in KenPom, and 10th in NET 8th in the same bracket as Illinois, all but guaranteeing a big-time showdown in the 2nd round in which two of the teams in the 3rd biggest market in the country will be reduced to one in the first weekend.
“Our NET was 10,” Moser said. “So what does that stand for? It’s the NCAA Evaluation Tool. That’s the tool they use. And if we’re a 10 … I don’t know. If you’re an 8 seed, that looks like it’s in the 32 range. We can just control what we can control.”
The Ramblers were No. 30 on the overall seed list, according to the NCAA.
People can hate, write off Loyola as over-rated "because they play in the MVC" and didn't play anybody out of conference this season really except Wisconsin to start the year (like scheduling was their fault this year), but don't be surprised if they slay Goliath on the 21st.
Sun Times - I see an even better story in a clash of the Illini and the Ramblers. For one thing, they haven’t met on the court since Nov. 11, 2011, in Champaign. The Illini won 67-49 in — wait for it — Porter Moser’s very first game as Loyola’s coach.
The point is — and just think about it — let’s try it again when both teams are at the very tops of their games. How wildly exciting would that be? Who would dare to miss the heavyweight championship fight of college basketball in Illinois?
There have been too many seasons when we didn’t even get two Illinois teams into the Big Dance. We certainly haven’t seen Chicago schools get there often. When was the last really big game between two “locals” like Illinois and Loyola? We don’t even have a real college basketball rivalry to speak of. Man, that’s lame.
Also, the secret weapon is coming out.
CBS - If it was solely up to Sister Jean, 101, would attend Loyola's games. But it isn't only up to her. Sister Jean is currently awaiting the final decision on travel approval from both Loyola and the NCAA, according to the Chicago Tribune report.
"They said there's restrictions," Sister Jean told Shannon Ryan of the Chicago Tribune on Saturday. "You can't run down on the court. You can't talk to the young men. I said, 'I'm not going to run down on the court, and I'm not going to cause any disturbance.' I said, 'I won't do things I'm not supposed to.'"
"I have not lost hope in going," Schmidt added. "I want to go so badly."
Excuse my language, but how the fuck will the crooks at the NCAA sleep at night knowing they denied a 101 future Saint to watch her beloved basketball team in person?
How could you say no to this face?