The Garnet Mine

Sister Jean and Loyola Chicago’s Final Four Run

11 Seed's Historic Run

Tommy Monaghan, Editor

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After Loyola Chicago’s wins over Miami, Tennessee, and Nevada, they were thought of as a fun Cinderella team — not a serious title contender. Those three wins were of a combined margin of four points including two game winning shots. However, after a dominant 16 point win over 9 seed Kansas State, the Ramblers are getting some respect as a legitimate title contender.

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Ben Richardson and Clayton Custer celebrating Final Four berth. Richardson scored 23 points including 6 threes in the win over K State. (photo via Chicago Tribune)

With 98-year-old Sister Jean on their side, the Ramblers can’t lose. Before each game, she gives a scouting report and leads the team in prayer. These prayers have translated to some good luck at the end of games. To beat Miami, Loyola Chicago needed a missed Lonnie Walker IV free throw followed by a quick Donte Ingram three pointer from the edge of the logo. To beat Tennessee, the Ramblers had a game winning shot from Clayton Custer that needed a lucky bounce off the rim to go in. Another one point win against Nevada was due in large part to a fading Marques Townes three with two guys on him. The point is, Sister Jean has been consistently tipping the balance in favor of the Ramblers towards the end of games.

Loyola will play 3 seed Michigan on Saturday in San Antonio. If they win, they will face either Villanova or Kansas — both one seeds. Junior Thomas Flaherty said “Loyola busted my bracket early when they beat Tennessee and I think they are going to win the whole thing.” Sophomore James Mackle said “Loyola is losing to Michigan for sure, their run was fun while it lasted but Michigan can’t lose right now.” Michigan is a six point favorite, but in March — especially this March — , the spread doesn’t really mean anything. There have only been three 11 seeds before now to make the Final Four, the 1985-86 LSU Tigers, the 2005-06 George Mason Patriots, and the 2010-11 VCU Rams. Loyola will have to defy history again to become the first of these four teams to win another game and make it to the national championship.

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Sister Jean and Loyola Chicago’s Final Four Run