NCAA Talk

Sister Jean was wrong: Loyola is rambling on to the Elite Eight

Sister Jean was wrong: Loyola is rambling on to the Elite Eight

Sister Jean was wrong: Loyola is rambling on to the Elite Eight.

Sister Jean Dolores Schmidt, the 98-year-old Loyola nun and arguably the team's biggest fan, predicted Loyola to lose in this year's Sweet Sixteen in her March Madness bracket. Instead, the Ramblers are moving on.

Loyola used a huge start to the second half to get past Nevada 69-68, advancing to their first Elite Eight since their championship-winning 1963 season.

Nevada was in control early on, leading Loyola 20-8 with 13:36 remaining in the first half. Loyola tightened things up shortly after, going on a 20-4 run to close out the half. Over the final 7:55 of the half, the Wolf Pack shot 0-for-8 from the field (0-for-3 from three), turning the ball over six times.

After the break, Loyola converted on their first 13 field goal attempts, leading by as many as 10 points before Nevada clawed back into the game. The Wolf Pack used a 9-2 run to tie the game at 59 apiece with 3:18 remaining in the game, with Loyola converting just two-of-seven field goal attempts.

Aundre Jackson nailed a three and a layup to put Loyola ahead 64-60 before Nevada's Caleb Martin brought the Wolf Pack within one with a three.

Cody Martin, Caleb's twin, closed the gap to 66-65 before Marques Townes buried a three with under ten seconds remaining to put Loyola ahead for good. Caleb Martin made things interesting with a late three, but it was all for naught, as Loyola held on for the victory.

Immediately following the game, the first Rambler to head to the podium and chat with the media was none other than the Queen of the Dance, Sister Jean:

48 of Loyola's 69 points were scored by just three players, including 18 from Marques Townes and 15 apiece from Jackson and Clayton Custer. The Ramblers converted 55.8 percent of their field goal attempts (38.5 percent from three) compared to Nevada's 41.4 percent (25.9 percent from three). 

Like their wins over Miami and Tennessee, Loyola's victory over Nevada came by a slim margin, tying an NCAA record in the process:

With the win, Loyola becomes the first school in Illinois to advance to the Elite Eight since Deron Williams and Illinois in 2005. Of course, Illinois lost the championship game to North Carolina that season.

The Ramblers' next game is Saturday, when they will take on No. 9-seeded Kansas State in the Elite Eight.

"I don't care that you broke my bracket," Sister Jean said. "I'm ready for the next one."

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

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USA TODAY

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.

Dave Leitao suspended 3 games, DePaul put on 3-year probation

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USA TODAY

Dave Leitao suspended 3 games, DePaul put on 3-year probation

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.