Sister Jean Delores Schmidt gave an inspirational pregame prayer to her Loyola Chicago team before the eighth-seeded Ramblers met top-seeded Illinois in Sunday’s second round.
Sister Jean said, “As we play the Fighting Illini, we ask for special help to overcome this team and get a great win. We hope to score early and make our opponents nervous. We have a great opportunity to convert rebounds as this team makes about 50% of layups and 30% of its 3 points. Our defense can take care of that.”
Just past the midway point of the first half, that prayer was being answered. Loyola was up 19-9 in the Midwest Region game.
The NCAA Tournament’s round of 32 is underway with nine double-digit seeds still alive.
According to NCAA spokesman David Worlock, that matches the second-highest total of double-digit seeds ever to reach the round of 32.
Ten double-digit seeds advanced that far in 2016. There also were nine double-digit seeds in the round of 32 in 2001 and 2012.
The double-digit seeds still around include Maryland (No. 10 East), Rutgers (No. 10, Midwest), Syracuse (No. 11, Midwest), UCLA (No. 11, East), Oregon State (No. 12, Midwest), North Texas (No. 13, South), Ohio (No. 13, West), Abilene Christian (No. 14, East) and Oral Roberts (No. 15 South).
UCLA and Abilene Christian face off Monday, assuring that at least one double-digit seed will reach the Sweet 16.
This is the first time four teams seeded 13th or worse made it to the second round.
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