No drama this time: Loyola romps to advance to Final Four

No drama this time: Loyola romps to advance to Final Four

Loyola is partying like it's 1963.

After three straight victories that went right down to the wire, the Ramblers blew out Kansas State to advance to the program's second Final Four appearance. Loyola won 78-62.

The last time Loyola made it to the Final Four was in 1963, when the Ramblers won the national title.

Kansas State led 3-2 and 5-4, but after that it was all Loyola. The Ramblers sprinted out to a 15-5 lead and maintained a double-digit lead for all of the second half, leading by as many as 23 points.

"These guys got a ton of fight," Loyola coach Porter Moser said on the floor after the game with a celebratory Loyola Final Four hat on.

Ben Richardson starred for Loyola with 23 points. The Ramblers shot 57 percent from the floor and made half of their 18 3-point attempts while limiting Kansas State to below 35 percent shooting from the field. The Wildcats made just 6 of 25 3-pointers.

"It's just one of those moments I can't even explain," Richardson said. "I kind of just blacked out. It was a big, big-time game, the biggest game of my life. so I guess I just blacked out on some of those celebrations."

In the first round Donte Ingram made the buzzer-beater. The next game it was Clayton Custer's jumper in the final seconds to give the Ramblers a one-point win. In the Sweet 16, Marques Townes' late 3-pointer was key in another one-point win.

On Saturday, Richardson, who didn't even score in the first round and was in single digits in the next two games broke out for a career-high 23 points.

"We were selfless today," Townes said. "Ben had a real good game and we made some big time plays and big time shots at certain crucial moments."

The 31-5 Ramblers now face the winner of Michigan and Florida State in the Final Four in San Antonio.

Illinois men's basketball cracks AP poll for first time in more than five years


Illinois men's basketball cracks AP poll for first time in more than five years

Illinois basketball has not made the NCAA Tournament since 2013 and has endured losing records in three of the last four seasons. However, things are looking up for the Fighting Illini.

Three straight Big Ten wins have the Illini 4-2 in the league, good for second place and the No. 24 spot in the latest AP poll. It’s the first time the Illini have been ranked since Dec. 2014.

Coach Brad Underwood went 26-39 in his first two seasons in charge, but things have turned around this season. A win against Michigan on Dec. 11 gave the Illini a marquee win, but losses to Missouri and Michigan State followed soon after. The current three-game winning streak has featured a blowout win against Purdue, a one-point win at Wisconsin and a three-point win against a surprisingly good Rutgers team.

Illinois’ RPI is currently 42 so they’re far from a lock to get in the tournament, but the Illini are in good shape as of now. The last season the Illini were ranked, they had to settle for an NIT bid.

Chicago native and Morgan Park High School product Ayo Dosunmu leads the team with 15.5 points per game.

NCAA is taking steps to allow student-athletes to make money off their likeness


NCAA is taking steps to allow student-athletes to make money off their likeness

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.