State, Loyola-Chicago defy odds, eye Final Four
- Author: Stacy Allen Mar 25, 2018,
Mar 25, 2018, 0:28
This qualifies as the most improbable Elite Eight matchup ever: the first No. 9 versus No. 11 Elite Eight game in NCAA tournament history.
If Kansas State (25-11) breaks through, it will embark on its first Final Four appearance since 1964.
11th-seeded Loyola-Chicago continued their Cinderella run in the NCAA Tournament with a 69-68 win over Nevada on Thursday. The Wildcats fell to Butler, 63-56, in the NCAA West Region final in Salt Lake City. On Thursday night, even against a weaker-than-normal Kentucky team, not many thought K-State and Weber would scheme their way past a Kentucky team that was looking as good as it had been all year. K-State was the first to show major interest and the early recruiting work paid off.
The Big 12 earned seven bids and has three teams (Kansas, Texas Tech and Kansas State) still alive to go with an 11-4 tournament record (.733).
When Porter Moser arrived as Loyola Chicago's men's basketball coach in 2011, the roster wasn't exactly dotted with players destined for the NBA, but he sensed a potential breakthrough with the right additions.
"Everybody wants to say it was divine intervention, but I think it's just tremendously exciting", Pastor Hurley said.
Kansas eliminates Duke from the NCAA Tournament.
Xavier Sneed has always been part of the plan at Kansas State. 1 Sooners 69-62 at Ahearn in mid-January. Head coach Eric Musselman's bunch came up short, but not for a lack of effort till the final whistle. It's an often nonsensical opportunity to seek perfection for fans while they inevitably fall short year after year. The outside barrage helped the Wildcats overcome 16 turnovers and played into their Sweet 16 plan for their opponents nicknamed "Press Virginia": Attack the stifling defense head-on.
That only got the juices flowing for Richmond and Co. heading into the NCAAs. "It was a great experience, and there was great chemistry on that team". Defensively, Kansas State yields 66.9 points per game against the opposing teams. With all the excitement from the first two rounds, the Sweet 16 had a tough act to follow - and the Basketball Gods did not disappoint. He grew up in Larned, cheering for K-State, later playing football for the Wildcats during his time as a student. No. 6 Houston defeated No. 11 San Diego State 67-65 on the same day that Blackshell-Fair and her team saw their season cut short. Graham came up big, snagging an offensive rebound late that was the icing on the cake and adding 16 points, but it was guard Malik Newman who finished with 17 to lead the Jayhawks offense. Scott made all five of his 3-point shots, Richmond was 2-for-4 and Henson made his only attempt. Clayton Custer and Ben Richardson both attended Blue Valley Northwest High School in the Kansas City suburbs. "He was such a phenomenal shooter". That pushed the Wildcats - the highest overall seed left - into Sunday's regional final in Boston to face third-seeded Texas Tech, which beat 2-seed Purdue. That made it three tournament wins by a total of four points. He is K-State's hottest player at the moment.
Richmond was later nicknamed "The Rock", because of his muscular 6-foot-5, 225-pound build. "The tournament is better than National Basketball Association playoffs or any sports event".
On the season, the MI offense goes through junior forward Mortiz Wagner as the German native leads the team in both points and rebounds per game, averaging 14.2 and 7.1 respectively.
"We all defined our roles", said Henson, who averaged 9.5 points and a team-leading 5.5 assists as a sophomore.