Another NCAA Tournament game, another quasi-buzzer-beater for No. 11 Loyola-Chicago, who snagged a ticket to the Sweet 16 with an upset over No. 3 Tennessee.
If there are three seconds left, does it count as a buzzer-beater? Who knows, who cares. Loyola has made winning in the last seconds in dramatic fashion their MO this March Madness. After a late-game comeback from No. 3 seed Tennessee put the Vols up one, Loyola inbounded and MVP-of-the-night Clayton Custer made a jumper to give Loyola its second NCAA tournament victory, its second upset, and its second game-winning last-seconds basket.
While not quite as a visually dramatic a shot as Donte Ingram’s 3-pointer in Thursday’s afternoon game (and upset) against Miami, the win once again came down to Loyola making the right moves in crunch time.
Coming off of an and-one that gave Tennessee the lead with 21 seconds left, Loyola took a timeout and set up what would become Custer’s game-winning shot. With 0:05 seconds left, there was much for Tennessee to do and Jordan Bone’s would-be buzzer-beater clanked off.
Loyola was an early pick to be a Cinderella favorite in this year’s tournament, and the even the school’s Sweet 16 bid won’t break many brackets. Even so, the number of new Ramblers fans has grown exponentially with their magical way of pulling off upsets — not to mention, their unofficial mascot, Sister Jean, with whom America appears to be quite smitten.
Next up for the Ramblers is the winner of No. 7 Nevada vs. No. 2 Cincinnati, neither of whom will be an easy out. Elsewhere in their region — the region of upsets — No. 13 Buffalo was unable to repeat, losing to No. 5 Kentucky after besting No. 4 Arizona and No. 16 (!!!) UMBC (!!!) faces No. 9 Kansas State after beating No. 1 (!!!) Virginia (!!!).