Loyola-Chicago is in the Final Four, and here are five reasons the Ramblers can keep the run going right to a national title.
At the start of this year’s NCAA Tournament, the Loyola-Chicago Ramblers were a solid pick for a first-round upset as a No. 11 seed over No. 6 seed Miami (FL). But no one could have seen the run they’ve been on coming, with subsequent wins over Tennessee, Nevada and Kansas State on Saturday to reach the Final Four.
Loyola-Chicago’s improbable run has made team chaplain Sister Jean into a hugely popular figure, and as expected some commercialization of her likeness and image has followed. But the Ramblers have won games on their own merit, winning by slim margins until beating Kansas State, with a deep and experienced squad the likes of which has helped mid-majors level the playing field in a “one and done” era.
Loyola-Chicago can compete with the big boys, and here are five reasons their epic tournament run can continue right through to a national title.
5. Porter Moser
To watch Moser’s Loyola-Chicago team is to see a style reflective of some of the best teams Rick Majerus had during his time as a college coach. That’s no accident, as Moser was an assistant under Majerus at Saint Louis from 2007-2011, before leaving to take the head job at Loyola-Chicago.
The Ramblers went 1-17 in conference play (then the Horizon League) during Moser’s first season (2011-12), building slowly to this year’s 15-3 mark in the Missouri Valley Conference and 28 wins heading into the NCAA Tournament.
Moser will become a candidate to jump to a bigger job now. But he’s clearly home at Loyola-Chicago, as an Illinois native, and the Ramblers will be coached up well from here on out.