Published: Sun, March 25, 2018
Sports | By Phillip Butler

Is your team still in the running — March Madness Highlights

Is your team still in the running — March Madness Highlights

History will be made when Kansas State and Loyola-Chicago tip off their Elite Eight game on Saturday.

Loyola-Chicago has won its three tournament games by a combined four points, defeating 6 seed Miami (Florida) by two points via a near-buzzer-beater in the first round, 3 seed Tennessee by one point via another late shot in the round of 32 and 7 seed Nevada 69-68 in the Sweet 16 Thursday.

Four members of Loyola's famous 1963 NCAA championship team had front-row seats: Jerry Harkness, Les Hunter, John Egan and Rich Rochelle. "We can't worry about what happened yesterday, can't worry about next week".

Efficient offense vs. smothering, mistake-forcing defense.

Loyola's resilience has made the Ramblers and Sister Jean the darlings of the tournament. We've got a legitimate shot to go to San Antonio. "It's just kind of the way they are". "He's a little bit confident, overconfident, but he said 'I am going to be, coach.'". I'm ready for the next one, ' and so I believe they are.

These two programs have some connection.

Embracing the grind is what Kansas State and Loyola-Chicago are all about. Clayton Custer and Ben Richardson both attended Blue Valley Northwest High School in the Kansas City suburbs. While the shooting inadequacies have been well documented throughout the tournament for Kansas State, they have somehow been able to rely on their opportunistic defense to persevere against prolific offensive teams.

K-State player to watch: Xavier Sneed.

"I'll probably remember it for the rest of my life", Townes said. They might be saying that to my face. "I know a lot of my teammates try and go to their games when they can but they're the ones who kept me informed during the season". "But it's all in good nature. For all that hard work to come up to that lucky bounce is worth it, and I think all the hard work, the basketball gods helped that one go in, and I'm just super blessed to be in this situation right now".

Still, it could've ended on Friday - in horrifying fashion - after Clemson stormed back from a 20-point deficit that stunned a crowd filled mostly with fans from Lawrence and surrounding areas, which are only a few hours from Omaha.

"I told the guys, you can't look at the name (Loyola), and you can't look at the league", he said.

"I love that this run is sparking the renewed conversation of what that team meant to our country and integration, and to hear the stories firsthand from them and to hear the brotherhood that they had, the black guys, the white guys, everyone together". They're a good team. It's an often nonsensical opportunity to seek perfection for fans while they inevitably fall short year after year. "Thank goodness they got out of it".

If Kansas State loses it will be because: It can't get much going on offense. The Wildcats haven't defeated any of the remaining three Big 12 teams in the tournament (Kansas, Texas Tech, West Virginia), but that doesn't matter now.

Barry Brown, Cartier Diarra and Kamau Stokes all start and all have the ability to play the point.

He began recruiting players from the Chicago area, and it eventually paid off with the current roster, which includes a handful of players who have contributed to the Ramblers' improbable march to Sunday's South Region final against Kansas State. But, as the old saying goes, you can't measure heart. "Watching the tournament this year, made me realize even more that I made it D-I because I'm rooting for a team that is playing in the Sweet Sixteen". Any one of us could have hit that shot, but I was just fortunate enough to be in the position.

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