Local college hoops 2016-17 preview: Loyola

Local college hoops 2016-17 preview: Loyola

2015-16 results: The Ramblers struggled to a 15-17 finish and 7-11 Missouri Valley Conference mark last season after starting conference play 0-5. Junior guard Milton Doyle had injuries and inconsistent play, and the team never got rolling.

Players to watch: Doyle is back for his senior year, healthy and motivated to produce. The 6-foot-4 wing and former Marshall star had his worst offensive season as a junior, and he's hoping to raise his shooting percentages and be a team leader this season. Junior forward Donte Ingram, a Simeon product, is also back. He put up 7.4 points and 4.1 rebounds per game last season.

Key storylines: One of the nice things about Loyola's offseason was its exhibition trip to Spain. The trip gave the Ramblers some exhibition games against European competition, time to bond overseas and 10 additional summer practices. The team is hoping the trip can help a team full of new players jel quickly and get off to a hot start.

Newcomers to track: The Loyola roster has some intriguing newcomers this season. Iowa State transfer Clayton Custer is eligible and should give the Ramblers another ball handler. Junior college transfer forward Aundre Jackson should earn minutes as well. Freshman Matt Chastain was a hot spring recruit from LeRoy, Ill., who provides additional athleticism.

Season outlook: The Ramblers have an intriguing future. They're built to win right now but only have one senior on the roster. If Doyle can return to form, he should have some new pieces to work with this season. As for the future, Loyola has a great 2017 recruiting class headlined by local stars Cameron Krutwig (Jacobs) and Christian Negron (Larkin), making next year look even better.

Loyola finishes top 10 in Coaches Poll

Loyola finishes top 10 in Coaches Poll

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 made the biggest climb from 21st to 7th in the Coaches Poll!

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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.

Loyola's magical run ends with Final Four loss to Michigan

Loyola's magical run ends with Final Four loss to Michigan

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.