Nazim Trammell-Wells | Contributing Writer
Cinderella made herself known this year in a dominating fashion.
Each year, the NCAA Tournament produces a story that cannot be made up — a story that drives college basketball fans absolutely mad, which got the tournament coined March Madness.
This year’s Cinderella story starred Loyola-Chicago.
Loyola-Chicago came into the first round as an 11 seed matched up against ACC-vetted, No. 6 seed Miami, who featured many top recruits. The game was an absolute nail-biter, where both teams were trading tough baskets the entire game. In the end, Loyola-Chicago came out victorious with a buzzer-beater 3-pointer from senior guard Donte Ingram.
After upsetting Miami, many thought Loyola was good, but to foresee the Ramblers going farther in the tournament was a mere fluke. Instead, more people looked at this as a mishap on Miami’s part and a team that will surely be sent home the next round.
The Ramblers had something different in mind as they took No. 3 seed Tennessee to the wire, winning 63-62 due to a late jumper from Clayton Custer.
Now garnering attention from about every team in the tournament, Loyola took on fellow Cinderella story Nevada, whom they defeated in exhilarating fashion 69-68 after a 3-pointer from Custer.
After dominating Kansas State 78-62, Loyola accomplished what many thought was the impossible a few weeks ago, making the Final Four.
The fact that out of the nation’s 68 best teams, Loyola-Chicago was one of the best four is something that was unfathomable. Unfortunately, their dreams were crushed by Michigan, a team that came as a 3 seed but had low expectations.
Michigan handled Loyola-Chicago 69-57. Wolverines big man Mo Wagner racked up 24 points and 15 rebounds, which was key as he was able to consistently crash the board to give his team second-chance points. Loyola put up a fight that many did not predict, and it served as this year’s bracket buster.
The Ramblers finished off a great season in which they earned themselves more recognition on the national level after being a team with a losing record a few years ago.