Loyola-Chicago vs Kansas State odds: point spread, Elite Eight preview, prediction

Aubrey Yates
March 24, 2018

He has Loyola Chicago within one victory of its first Final Four berth since 1963, when it won the national championship. He has averaged 11.2 points this season and seems like the Ramblers' most unsafe player.

After the final whistle, players on their way to the locker room hugged the 98-year-old nun, who also serves as team chaplain and honorary assistant coach, scouting upcoming opponents and comparing notes with Loyola Coach Porter Moser.

That "winning gene", as Moser calls it, has put Loyola in position to become the fourth No. 11 seed in tournament history to reach the Final Four, after LSU in 1986, George Mason in 2006 and Virginia Commonwealth in 2011. Not known for their offense, the defensive play of the Wildcats has led them one win from the Final Four. For the Ramblers didn't make it here by accident - they are 31-5, after all - and are a result of a flawless storm of coaching, talent and long hours. The Ramblers are now averaging 71.8 points per game, ranking them 233rd overall.

Pretty much everybody's NCAA Tournament is busted.

Elsewhere in the South Region, the #9 Kansas State Wildcats held on for a 61-58 win over the Kentucky Wildcats, which was the school's first ever victory against Big Blue Nation. Barry Brown contributed with 13 points on a rough 4 for 15 shooting performance in Thursday's win. Mississippi State had to defy a court injunction to play the Ramblers in the regional semifinal, sneaking out of the state to play.

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Kansas State has been an afterthought through the NCAA Tournament - until now. A No. 9 seed has never played a No. 11 seed in the NCAA Tournament.

The bobbleheads, which are being produced by the National Bobblehead Hall of Fame and Museum, are officially licensed by Loyola University Chicago and are being produced in conjunction with the Loyola University Athletic Department.

Sister Jean leads the team in prayer before each game, and she prays for her players to be safe, for the referees to be fair, and for God's assistance during the game. The victor of this game will be the first team in the NCAA Final Four. The Wildcats have allowed an average of only 53.3 points in their last three games, and the under is 4-1 in their last five games overall. And the Ramblers came through again Thursday night on the shoulders of their latest hero.

Often seen sporting a letterman jacket and a scarf with the team's yellow and maroon colors, Sister Jean's impact has been greatest on Loyola-Chicago's players.

Points in the paint were controlled by Loyola Chicago, with 46 points, compared to Nevada's 34.

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