Sister Jean was wrong: Loyola is rambling on to the Elite Eight.
Sister Jean Dolores Schmidt, the 98-year-old Loyola nun and arguably the team's biggest fan, predicted Loyola to lose in this year's Sweet Sixteen in her March Madness bracket. Instead, the Ramblers are moving on.
Loyola used a huge start to the second half to get past Nevada 69-68, advancing to their first Elite Eight since their championship-winning 1963 season.
Nevada was in control early on, leading Loyola 20-8 with 13:36 remaining in the first half. Loyola tightened things up shortly after, going on a 20-4 run to close out the half. Over the final 7:55 of the half, the Wolf Pack shot 0-for-8 from the field (0-for-3 from three), turning the ball over six times.
After the break, Loyola converted on their first 13 field goal attempts, leading by as many as 10 points before Nevada clawed back into the game. The Wolf Pack used a 9-2 run to tie the game at 59 apiece with 3:18 remaining in the game, with Loyola converting just two-of-seven field goal attempts.
Aundre Jackson nailed a three and a layup to put Loyola ahead 64-60 before Nevada's Caleb Martin brought the Wolf Pack within one with a three.
Cody Martin, Caleb's twin, closed the gap to 66-65 before Marques Townes buried a three with under ten seconds remaining to put Loyola ahead for good. Caleb Martin made things interesting with a late three, but it was all for naught, as Loyola held on for the victory.
Immediately following the game, the first Rambler to head to the podium and chat with the media was none other than the Queen of the Dance, Sister Jean:
48 of Loyola's 69 points were scored by just three players, including 18 from Marques Townes and 15 apiece from Jackson and Clayton Custer. The Ramblers converted 55.8 percent of their field goal attempts (38.5 percent from three) compared to Nevada's 41.4 percent (25.9 percent from three).
Like their wins over Miami and Tennessee, Loyola's victory over Nevada came by a slim margin, setting an NCAA record in the process:
Loyola-Chicago's 3 NCAA Tournament wins have come by a combined 4 points. That ties the smallest combined win margin by any team to win its first 3 games of a single tournament all time (1981 Saint Joseph's - 4).— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) March 23, 2018
With the win, Loyola becomes the first school in Illinois to advance to the Elite Eight since Deron Williams and Illinois in 2005. Of course, Illinois lost the championship game to North Carolina that season.
The Ramblers' next game is Saturday, when they will take on No. 9-seeded Kansas State in the Elite Eight.
"I don't care that you broke my bracket," Sister Jean said. "I'm ready for the next one."
"I don't care that you broke my bracket." - Sister Jean pic.twitter.com/yKuBklhIw0— CBS Sports (@CBSSports) March 23, 2018