Nevada

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."

Recruiting News and Notes: I'Shawn Stewart continues to draw interest

Recruiting News and Notes: I'Shawn Stewart continues to draw interest

I'Shawn Stewart (WR), Bolingbrook

Bolingbrook junior three-star ranked wide receiver I'Shawn Stewart (5-foot-11, 165 pounds) thought he would have been committed by now, but still remains uncommitted.

"I'm still waiting," Stewart said. "We've had 24 different college coaches in school so far. My plan is to see how the spring evaluation period goes for me and I'm also planning to go to a few college camps. I'm planning to camp at both Wisconsin and Michigan State this summer. Penn State has also been showing more interest. They came into school not too long ago and they are suppose to be back in this Friday to watch a team workout. I might also camp at Penn State this summer but I haven't set anything up yet. "

Stewart has scholarship offers from Eastern Michigan, Illinois, Iowa, Miami (OH), Nevada, NIU, Syracuse, Toledo and Western Michigan.

Jaylan Alexander (ILB), Hoffman Estates

Hoffman Estates junior inside linebacker Jaylan Alexander (6-foot-2, 225 pounds) has added several scholarship offers and increased recruiting attention this spring. 

"Recruiting has been good," Alexander said. "I have some nice offers so far and we have been seeing a lot of college coaches in school over the past few weeks. I have offers so far from NIU, Western Kentucky, Illinois State, Eastern Michigan, Western Illinois, Central Michigan and Bowling Green. I've been in touch quite a bit with Wyoming, South Dakota and North Dakota and those schools seem like they could be pretty close to offering."

[RELATED: Oswego's Noah Shannon becomes latest Illinois player to commit to Minnesota]

Sam Barkalow (TE), Forreston

Keep an eye out on Class 1A state champion Sam Barkalow (6-foot-6, 220 pounds). Barkalow, a three-sport athlete who was a key two-way starter for the Cardinals last season, has seen increased recruiting interest this spring. 

"My recruiting has been going well," Barkalow said. "I've been in touch with some of the Ivy League schools, along with some of the FCS schools in the Dakotas, plus some DII schools. Harvard, North Dakota State, Northern Michigan have been in school already, along with some smaller level colleges. The coaches all want me to come out and camp with them this summer."

Denver Warren (DT), West Aurora

West Aurora freshman defensive tackle Denver Warren (6-foot-3, 285 pounds) has been highly impressive on the camp circuit, and he recently added his first two BCS offers from Iowa State and Central Michigan.

"It's awesome to add two offers already," Warren said. "I spoke with the coaches at Iowa State on last week, and then about a half hour later I also talked to Central Michigan and they also extended me an offer. I'm just really excited and so is my family."

Warren, who played last fall at Aurora Christian before transferring to West Aurora, was more than a bit surprised to add two early scholarship offers.

"When I added the first offer from Iowa State I was still a little in shock," Warren said. "Then when Central Michigan offered me it really hit me that I was picking up scholarship offers already. It's a great feeling to add those offers and it's also great motivation. Getting those offers just makes me want to work harder and to keep proving myself."