Snow Patrol, song “Don’t Give In” from the album Wildness
Single was released a few hours before the tip-off in Atlanta
To be released May 25, 2018
Magical Ride For Loyola-Chicago Continues
With Sister Jean Dolores Schmidt comfortably perched high above Philips Arena (not the Mercedes-Benz Stadium as I mistakenly mentioned on last Tuesday’s podcast), she watched her Loyola Ramblers hit their first two shots before Nevada stormed out to a 20-8 lead during the first half. Then, Loyola woke up by holding the Wolf Pack scoreless for the last 7 minutes and 55 seconds as the Ramblers took a 28-24 into the halftime locker room. A 20-4 run helped boosted Loyola’s confidence big time.
Loyola stormed out with more layups in the second half and grabbed a 10 point lead at 57-47 before Nevada had to call time out. In this game of runs, Nevada stormed back one last time on a 12-2 run. Cody Martin’s basket tied the score at 59 all with 4:06 to play. Thankfully, Loyola Head Coach Porter Moser kept preaching the same things to his players–drive to the basket, make the extra pass, and make the defense commit. His players bought his message, and boy did they ever deliver in front of a nationwide audience watching on CBS. 46 points in the paint proved to be a key stat as the Ramblers kept pounding the ball inside, and Nevada was unable to find a similar spark like they did in their 22 point comeback on Sunday against second seeded Cincinnati.
In the final seconds, Loyola found their third consecutive different hero in the 2018 NCAA Tournament. This time, it was Marques Townes who nailed a three point shot with 6.3 seconds left that turned out to be the game winner. Caleb Martin for Nevada hit a three of his own, but Nevada had only committed six team fouls in the second half and Loyola was able to successfully run out the clock. The improbable 69-68 win sends the Ramblers to their first Elite Eight since winning it all way back in 1963. Ironically enough, four living members of that championship team had front row seats to the action on Thursday night: John Egan, Jerry Harkness, Les Hunter, and Rich Rochelle. If you were listening closely to the on-court microphones, it was Harkness himself saying, “We need a stop. We just need a stop.”
Loyola moves to 31-5 on the season, while Nevada bows out at 29-8. The Wolf Pack will lose four seniors to graduation, but don’t count them out for 2019–twins Caleb and Cody Martin will be back as part of a core of four guys trying to navigate their way through the always tricky Mountain West Conference.
An amazing game again by an amazing group of guys, likewise the nightcap down in “Catlanta” proved to be just as good.
A First in NCAA Tournament History
For the first time ever in NCAA Tournament history, there will be a 9 seed playing an 11 seed as a trip to the Final Four will be at stake.
Kansas State was able to weather off some final desperate shots and made some key free throws down the stretch to upend Kentucky and their heralded freshman class by a score of 61-58. Xavier Sneed led the way with 22 points, but it was Barry Brown Jr. converting on a left handed scoop shot with 18.4 seconds left which proved to be the deciding basket. It will be Head Coach Bruce Weber’s third appearance in the Elite Eight, having taken Kansas State there in 2010 and Illinois when they easily dumped Wisconsin-Milwaukee at the Allstate Arena in Rosemont, Illinois back in 2005.
For Kentucky, P.J. Washington had 18 points while Shai Gilgeous-Alexander had 15 and Kevin Knox chipped in with 13. A last second three attempt by Quade Green fell harmlessly to the left side of the rim and did not go in. I guess UK Coach John Calipari’s comment on Wednesday about his players hoping not to be “drinking the poison” did not go over well, unlike when Alabama football coach Nick Saban used a similar comment to get his players psyched up last fall en route to another CFP championship.
Even Dean Wade played eight minutes during the first half and scored four points. He was not supposed to play, but he did and we will see if Coach Weber gives him more playing time against the upstart Loyola Ramblers. Loyola shot 18 of 24 in the second half, so watch to see what kind of spacing Loyola plans to do against the Wildcats.
Bottom line, it should be a really fun game to watch on Saturday, tip time slated for 6:09 p.m. Eastern time on TBS.
Meanwhile, in Lipstick City Los Angeles–it felt like the Joker was playing the role of The Banker (if people remember the great NBC game show Deal or No Deal) and offered a very low sum of money.
Michigan and Florida State Romp, Look Very Impressive In Winning Easily
Michigan used the three point shot and hit them with reckless abandon, nailing 10 in the first half alone as Texas A&M’s big men were basically “Lost In Translation” to the tune of a 52-28 bloodbath by the time the halftime buzzer sounded. The second half was no different as Muhammad Ali Abdur-Rahkman had himself another excellent all-around game scoring 24 points to go along with 5 rebounds and seven assists in a whopping 99-72 decision in Big Blue Nation’s favor.
Michigan shot 62 percent from the field, as Moritz Wagner played another splendid game chipping in with 21 points and three rebounds. For the Aggies, Tyler Davis had 24 points in a losing cause while Robert Williams had 12 and Admon Gilder finished up with 10.
The Wolverines will take on another 9 seed on Saturday, as Florida State completely shredded the once vaunted Gonzaga offensive attack and wore down the Bulldogs in an impressive 75-60 victory. It will be Florida State’s first trip to the Elite Eight since 1993. The Seminoles were led by Terance Mann, who torched Gonzaga scoring 18 points in 34 minutes. Gonzaga has lost three straight times in the NCAA Tournament to ACC schools and finishes their season with an impressive 32-5 record. Corey Kispert had 18 points off the bench to lead the ‘Zags, while holdovers from the 2017 Final Four squad of Josh Perkins was held to only nine points, the normally reliable Johnathan Williams registered 8 points on the evening, and finally Silas Melson had seven points. Gonzaga saw their 16 game winning streak snapped in the process.
In the West Regional Final on Saturday, it will be whichever team is the first to score 80 points will win. This will be a track meet type of a game.
Dan Hurley Hired To Take Over For Kevin Ollie at UConn
Rhode Island will have to find a new person to man the bench as Dan Hurley leaves after six years at Rhode Island to take over at UConn, where Kevin Ollie occupied the bench in both Hartford and Storrs each of the past six seasons. Hurley led the Rams to two straight Atlantic 10 titles and a pair of consecutive trips to the NCAA Tournament. ESPN analyst Dan Dakich mentioned on the SC:6 program that “he is a perfect fit” for UConn going forward as far as recruiting is concerned. The last time that the UConn Huskies failed to reach the Big Dance in consecutive years, you have to go back to the end of the last century, during the years 1998 and 1999 when they were sent to the NIT on both occasions.
See you later on Friday, as we look forward to four more games in simply nice Omaha and snowy Boston.