Illinois State's bubble officially burst Sunday afternoon.
After much debate, the Redbirds were left out of the 2017 NCAA Tournament field in favor of other fringe squads like Kansas State, USC, Providence and Wake Forest. Their season isn't over quite yet, though.
The Redbirds were selected as a No. 1 seed in the NIT and will host UC Irving in an opening-round game on Wednesday night. Tipoff is scheduled for 8:30 p.m at Redbird Arena, where ISU has compiled an undefeated record this season.
Albeit disappointing to miss out on the Big Dance, ISU still has a chance to make postseason noise and knock off some of the biggest names in college hoops. This year's NIT field features premier programs like Indiana, Syracuse, Cal and, yes, their neighbors from Champaign, too.
It's also the last hoorah for Proviso East product Paris Lee, a senior who was named Missouri Valley Conference Player of the Year. In Lee's fantastic senior campaign, he's put up 13.1 points, 5.0 assists and 3.7 rebounds per game.
Only Wichita State, who received an automatic bid, represents the MVC on this year's bracket. The Shockers square off against Dayton in the first round.
This year’s March Madness Cinderella team (accompanied by rising star Sister Jean) not only captured the hearts of Chicagoland and underdog supporters alike, but also Division 1 coaches, too.
Loyola University Chicago finished in the top 10 of the USA Today Coaches Poll, landing a 21 spot climb to finish in seventh place — the biggest rise the 2018 poll saw. The poll is conducted weekly with votes coming from a panel of Division 1 coaches who are all members of the National Association of Basketball Coaches.
Loyola shocked the college basketball nation as the team was only the fourth No. 11 seed in NCAA basketball history to reach the Final Four, where they were defeated March 31 by No. 3 seed University of Michigan 57-69.
Relive their memorable journey here.
The Loyola Ramblers captured the hearts of millions with their magical run through March Madness.
And while it seemed like this talented group, led by head coach Porter Moser - and Sister Jean, might never lose, their journey ended Saturday night in San Antonio at the hands of the third-seeded Michigan Wolverines.
The Ramblers went through a dry spell in the first half but still managed to take a 29-22 lead into halftime in a game that featured two suffocating defenses. The second half was a different story, as the Wolverines put on a clinic and continued their lockdown defense, outscoring the Ramblers by 21 in the eventual 69-57 victory.
Relive their magical run in the video above. Below you can find our Facebook Live coverage of Gentile Arena, where the Ramblers' official watch party took place during the game.