UMBC may have stolen the most attention from the first round of the NCAA Tournament, but Loyola became the early talk of Saturday's games by advancing to the Sweet 16 with another dramatic finish.
It wasn't the pure exhilaration of Donte Ingram’s last-second game-winning 3-pointer in the first round win against Miami, but the Ramblers knocked off Tennessee 63-62 (a one-point difference from the 64-62 score against Miami) with another exciting finish.
This time it was Clayton Custer sinking a jumper, one that hit rim, then backboard and some more rim before going in, with 3.6 seconds left and the Ramblers surviving a last gasp three attempt by Jordan Bone to get the win.
“The ball bounced up on the rim and I got a good bounce like that,” Custer said of his game-winning shot. “The only thing I could think about after the game is that’s all the hard work that you put in to get in a situation like this. All those hours, waking up early in the morning and working out. For all that hard work to come up to that lucky bounce is worth it.”
Custer’s shot may not have been the cleanest looking, but teammate Ben Richardson said it’s nothing new.
“I’ve seen him make a 1-2 dribble pull-up probably a million times,” Richardson said. “I have so much faith in that shot just because I’ve seen him make it. When we’re just working out and stuff I see him make it at maybe a 98 percent clip so before games I’m always like ‘Get to that 1-2 pull-up, get to that 1-2 pull-up.’... It’s fitting that he hits a big shot going 1-2 pull-up, like we’ve been doing in the gym for our whole lives working on that shot.”
Loyola, an 11 seed, is in the Sweet 16 for the first time since 1985. The Ramblers will face either Cincinnati or Nevada next, looking for a first trip to the Elite 8 since winning the national title in 1963. Oh, by the way, Loyola beat Cincinnati in the 1963 championship game.
Bulls rookie guard Coby White has talent, an infectious smile and an afro that makes him stand out on the court. It’s a fair bet he could have made some money off his likeness while he played at North Carolina if the rules allowed it.
The NCAA is taking steps towards allowing its athletes to do so, but there’s still a long way to go in the process. The organization’s Board of Governors unanimously voted to start the process. That vote moves things to the NCAA’s three divisions “to consider updates to relevant bylaws and policies,” as it was worded in the NCAA's press release.
“We must embrace change to provide the best possible experience for college athletes,” said Michael V. Drake, the chair of the board and president of Ohio State. “Additional flexibility in this area can and must continue to support college sports as a part of higher education. This modernization for the future is a natural extension of the numerous steps NCAA members have taken in recent years to improve support for student-athletes, including full cost of attendance and guaranteed scholarships.”
The board asked each division (Division I, Division II, Division III) to make any new rules immediately and no later than January 2021.
It’s important to note that none of the changes are final, or even imminent. It’s still relevant that the NCAA is going through the process at all, after being so strongly in favor of amateurism across the board for its student-athletes.
The potential changes would not allow for compensation based on performance or participation in a sport. Of course, the natural grey area is that higher performing athletes will be more marketable so they would be compensated on performance indirectly.
This comes after California passed legislation to allow college athletes to receive endorsement/sponsorship money and other states are pursuing similar.
This is still far from being official or finalized, but it will continue to be a major story in college sports over the next couple years.
The DePaul men's basketball team has been placed on three-year probation and head coach Dave Leitao has been suspended three games for the 2019-20 season, the NCAA announced on Tuesday.
The program was found guilty of "failing to promote an atmosphere of compliance while Leitao did not "prevent violations from occurring in his program."
A Division I Committee on Infractions panel concluded that a "former DePaul associate head coach violated NCAA ethical conduct rules when he knowingly directed the former assistant director of basketball operations to provide impermissible recruiting benefits to a recruit."
The NCAA found that three coaches knew about the situation but failed to report the infractions. DePaul will vacate all wins earned while the ineligible player competed and suffer recruiting restrictions. They were also fined $5,000 plus 1% of the men's basketball program budget.
In 2019, DePaul had their first winning season since 2007 by going 19-17.