NCAA Talk

Western Illinois in-state recruiting class recap

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USA TODAY

Western Illinois in-state recruiting class recap

EDGY's Western Illinois Leathernecks Grade: C

Western Illinois head coach Charlie Fisher was able to ink 24 names to his 2017 recruiting class, with five names calling the Illinois home. Western Illinois decided to go the variety pack route with this class, signing four defensive linemen but then spreading the class out over several positions.

Headliner Of The In-State Class?

Western Illinois was able to add some strong names on the offensive line. Galesburg offensive linemen Matt Ricketts, Simeon offensive linemen Fawaz Atoola (6-foot-4, 286 pounds) along with Montini Catholic Michael Ross (6-foot-2, 305 pounds). Ricketts was a four-year contributor and a three-year starter at Galesburg along with being an All-State player. Ross played both offensive and defensive line for Montini and showed well in college one-day camps. Ayoola has great size and length and is a a lean 286-pounder who will add more strength in Macomb.

The One Who Got Away?

Western Illinois was in on several in-state names. The Leathernecks had a very good shot with Freeport LB Zeke Vandenburgh, who also made an official visit to WIU. Vendenburgh ended up signing with Illinois State.

Final Thoughts on the Western Illinois Leathernecks Recruiting Class:

Western Illinois and head coach Charlie Fisher are looking to break out of the always rough Missouri Valley Conference "middle of the pack." The Leathernecks didn't finish well last season, losing four of their last five games to finish 6-5 overall and also missed a shot at the FCS playoff bid. However, WIU has also been a consistent winner over the past few seasons. This WIU Class of 2017 recruiting class does a good job of adding more depth to the roster and developing a few promising freshmen here.

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.