Jackson: Loyola's Run Is "A Phenomenal Thing"

The Ramblers don't have to watch "One Shining Moment." They're living it

After Hours With Amy Lawrence
March 23, 2018 - 9:59 am

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Loyola-Chicago wasn’t even supposed to win its first-round game against Miami. Now the Ramblers are in the Elite Eight for the first time in 55 years.

“It’s unbelievable, especially when you weren’t projected to get there,” Westwood One analyst Jim Jackson said on After Hours with Amy Lawrence. “Back in the day, it was like you needed to get to a bowl game to be successful in college football. You needed to be one of the last teams playing after the first of the year or after Christmas – and it means something. Here, with a one-game elimination, to be able to play,  to be able to (have) the intestinal fortitude to fight through as an underdog, to prove yourself – it means a lot.”

No. 11 Loyola beat No. 7 Nevada, 69-68, on Thursday. The Ramblers have won three tournament games by a combined four points, hitting shots at – or near – the buzzer to secure each win. First it was Donte Ingram against Miami. Then it was Clayton Custer against Tennessee. Thursday, it was Marques Townes against Nevada.

Loyola Fever is real.

“The alumni, the fans, and even people who are novice basketball fans watch games and end up pulling for the underdog and the Cinderella, so to speak,” Jackson said. “So it’s a phenomenal thing.”

The Ramblers (31-5) will face No. 9 Kansas State (25-11) on Saturday at 6:09 p.m. ET for the right to go to the Final Four. K-State hasn't been to the Final Four since 1964. Loyola hasn't been there since 1963.

“It means so much to the player to be able to experience that,” Jackson said. “A lot of these teams, they watch it on TV and they’ve never imagined that their school, Loyola, would be there. For years they watched ‘One Shining Moment’ or wondered what that would feel like. Well, now they’re getting an opportunity to experience it – and good for them."