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Mar 24, 2018; Atlanta, GA, USA; The Loyola Ramblers celebrate after defeating the Kansas State Wildcats in the championship game of the South regional of the 2018 NCAA Tournament at Philips Arena. Mandatory Credit: Adam Hagy-USA TODAY Sports

Loyola Chicago To Face Michigan In Final Four

The Ramblers continue their dance to the Final Four.

After knocking off No. 9 seed Kansas State in the Elite Eight, Loyola Chicago will travel to San Antonio to play in the national semifinal. No. 3 seed Michigan, which took down No. 9 seed Florida State on Sunday, awaits them this weekend.

Loyola Chicago, a No. 11 seed, beat Kansas State 78 to 62 in Atlanta on Saturday to advance to its second Final Four in program history. The Ramblers’ last appearance was during the 1963 season when they won the title.

Dances With Ramblers

College basketball fans have another Cinderella team to get behind.

Coming out of the Missouri Valley championship, Loyola Chicago entered the NCAA Tournament as an 11th seed in the South Region. The program hadn’t appeared in the tournament since 1985 (made a Sweet 16 run as a No. 4 seed that year) but came in this year with a 29-5 regular season record, ready to roll.

The Ramblers faced Miami (Fla.) in the first round and defeated the Hurricanes 64-62. In the first meeting between the two schools, Loyola Chicago came out on top after senior guard Donte Ingram hit a last-second, game-winning 3-point shot.

That victory pushed the Ramblers into the second round. They next took on co-regular season Southeastern Conference champion Tennessee and edged out the No. 3 seed Volunteers, 63-62. Point guard Clayton Custer hit a late-game 2-point jump shot to put the team up by one.

Loyola Chicago wasn’t done yet, though. The Ramblers continued to dance and moved into the Sweet 16 for a third-round match up against No. 7 seed Nevada. This game featured nothing short of more late-game heroics, as Ramblers junior Marques Townes (five assists, 18 points) nailed a 3-point shot with under 10 seconds remaining. His score put Loyola Chicago up by four and gave the Ramblers a 69-68 victory over the Wolfpack.

Townes said he’ll probably remember that shot for the rest of his life.

They were headed to the Elite Eight and one win away from a shot at the national championship.

Ramblers Good Luck Charm

Loyola Chicago had just defeated Miami (Fla.), and Sister Jean took the tournament by storm.

It was at this point media darling Sister Jean Dolores Schmidt, the 98-year-old team chaplain, began appearing on TV and grabbing national headlines. She said she had made a Cinderella bracket with the Ramblers in the national title game. That wasn’t the only one she made, though.

Sister Jean has also become a social media sensation, particularly after the Ramblers win against Kansas State that put them into the Final Four. Take a look at this interview with her following the game.

She also said she believes this run is giving them a boost.

With her spirit and support in play, the Ramblers have made it this far. Head coach Porter Moser said he’s happy for his team and thinks it’s an amazing feeling for him as a coach to be with a locker room like Loyola Chicago’s.

Senior guard Ben Richardson, who scored a game- and career-high 23 points against Kansas State, said it didn’t matter what everyone else thought about what they could do and had a surreal moment after the win Saturday.

Final Four Matchup Set

The Ramblers will have to wait a few days before they continue their quest for college basketball glory. Tip off for Game 1 of the Final Four is set for 6:09 p.m. on TBS.

About William Clewis

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