Cinderella and Sister Jean can share a carriage ride to San Antonio as the No. 11 seed Loyola Chicago Ramblers upset No. 9 seed Kansas State 78-62 to advance to the Final Four.
RAMBLERS ARE HEADING TO SAN ANTONIO!
— NCAA March Madness (@marchmadness) March 25, 2018
In the first NCAA Tournament matchup in tournament history between a 9 and an 11 seed, the Ramblers jumped ahead early and cruised to a convincing triumph to earn their first trip to the Final Four since 1963.
3 who mattered
Ben Richardson: The Ramblers senior guard from Overland Park, Kan., led his team in the upset with a career-high 23 points on 7-of-10 shooting. He added 6 rebounds and 4 assists while making only 1 turnover.
Xavier Sneed: The hero in Kansas State’s Sweet 16 victory over Kentucky led the Wildcats with 16 points on 6-of-10 shooting, including 4 of 6 on 3-pointers. He added a team-high 6 rebounds and an assist.
Cameron Krutwig: The big man for the Ramblers made his presence known against Kansas State’s lack of size, scoring 9 points and leading the Ramblers with 7 rebounds.
The Ramblers weren’t going to miss
Loyola Chicago started the game by hitting 11 of its first 14 shots and never trailed from there.
The Ramblers finished shooting 57.4 percent (27 of 47) from the field while also connecting on 9 of 18) from 3-point range.
Clayton Custer was the only player for Loyola Chicago to shoot below 50 percent in the game.
Adding to Loyola Chicago’s lore is the fact that Kansas State held its first three opponents to 61 points or fewer in the NCAA Tournament and held opponents to 42.2 percent shooting on the season.
Dean Wade was missed
Dean Wade, the first-team All-Big 12 forward, missed Saturday’s Elite Eight nursing a foot injury, which cost him action in all but one of Kansas State’s final five games of the year.
Wade’s ability to stretch defenses with his size and shooting ability could have created mismatches against Loyola Chicago’s defense. Instead, K-State relied on four- or five-guard sets and was held to 34.8 percent shooting.
According to the TBS broadcast, one of the deciding factors in Wade not playing against Loyola Chicago was his potential future at the next level.
Wade is undoubtedly an NBA draft prospect.
It’d be wise on Wade’s part to test the NBA waters at the very least this offseason while not hiring an agent — thus leaving the door open for a return to Manhattan.
The number: 55
Loyola Chicago ended a 55-year drought between trips to the Final Four with the win Saturday.
Meanwhile, Kansas State’s 54-year Final Four drought will extend after the loss.
What’s next for Kansas State, Loyola basketball
Kansas State’s season ends with a 25-12 overall record. The trip to the Elite Eight was the first since 2010, when the Wildcats also lost to a Cinderella in Butler under Frank Wilson.
As for Loyola Chicago, it heads to San Antonio for the Final Four, where it’ll face the winner of No. 3 seed Michigan and No. 9 seed Florida State on Saturday.