Loyola Chicago is starting to become a household name in the March Madness bracket. Head coach Porter Moser has brought them to the final four back in 2018 and now the sweet 16 in 2021. In 2017 they were a sweet Cinderella story, but that may be different this year.
Led by Sister Jean and Cameron Krutwig, the Ramblers play sound, fundamental defense and limit mistakes. In their first two games, they have not looked like an eight seed at all, which makes sense. The committee should have never ranked them lower than a five seed.
Loyola Chicago ranks 7th in the KenPom rankings, 36th in offensive efficiency, and first in defensive efficiency. They also rank ahead of Ohio State, Alabama, Kansas, and Arkansas, who are all a three seed or higher. Loyola also ranks 10th in the NET rankings.
The eight seed gives off the impression that they are a cinderella, but after dominating Illinois, the Ramblers showed that they were legit contenders.
Based on these rankings, Loyola Chicago is most likely a top 15 team in the country, which means there is no way they should have gotten an eight seed. Illinois was given an unfair draw, and it would have been better for the NCAA to have these two face off in the elite eight or sweet 16, not the round of 32 on Saturday at noon.
Lucas Williamson and Cameron Krutwig return to the tournament more mature and make up a deadly one-two combination that can give any team fits.
Senior guard Lucas Williamson has played a big role in their two victories putting up 21 points against Georgia Tech and 14 against Illinois. Williamson also shoots about 38% from behind the arc and 42% from the field.
Krutwig was the Missouri Valley Conference freshman of the year in 2018, and is now the Missouri Valley Conference player of the year in 2021. Loyola plays mostly through the senior center who averages 15 points and seven rebounds per
Loyola now moves on to the Sweet 16 to play 12 seed Oregon State. The Beavers have surprised people all season long and made it here even though they were ranked last in the PAC-12 at the beginning of the season. Sister Jean and her resilient Ramblers should be able to win this one and make it to the elite eight. The program being built in Chicago is something really special and if they can retain Porter Moser, they have a bright future ahead of them.