MI players explain how Moe Wagner embraces 'villain' role

U.S. President Barack Obama delivers remarks at Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park in Hiroshima western Japan

Camera crews jockeyed for position along the walls.

Two weeks of mayhem - a tumult of historic upsets, buzzer-beaters and at least one celebrity nun - have brought the NCAA tournament to a crossroads. When Coach Porter Moser and I met in his office, I talked about being done with basketball even though I had a year of eligibility remaining. Loyola is the fourth No. 11 seed to advance to the Final Four. Two buses will make the almost 20-hour trek, traveling close to 1,300 miles one way to the Alamodome for Saturday's matchup. A lot of teams that are like us are definitely rooting for us to prove that teams in smaller conferences and mid-majors are really good teams. I men's college basketball championship.

Yet, the darling of the Big Dance?

"As far as Sister Jean, I don't remember her". Well, if she did, she never expected it to be quite like this.

Sister Jean obliged and was surrounded by the kids in maize and blue.

Sister Jean's presence has reminded everyone that the game is about more than slam dunks, busted brackets, big money and the glossy "One Shining Moment" video that wraps things up at the end. "When they won a championship, there wasn't a change between ACC and southern schools allowing blacks to play".

He said: "Certainly, I say this: Their personnel is very good, but as a coach you sort of think your personnel is comparable", and, "If a team you're playing in a similar conference makes it to the Final Four, it's something you can point to with your players". I had just finished what could be classified as my senior year at Loyola Chicago.

From the '63 team to now, parallels are still relevant for the Ramblers in their quest for glory in San Antonio. She's on socks. She's on t-shirts. Reflecting now on that time, she noted how Donahue "had been in so many ways made the wiser from his past experience at Boston College".

Why does Cristina Nuncio, an academic advisor for Northern Essex Community College's Lawrence campus, have so much respect for Sister Jean Dolores Schmidt? A Yahoo! Sports report cited a source that said, "Hall of Fame coaches should be scared". "Most of them never even got to the Elite Eight or anything like that". Sure a coach may have a sparkling reputation, but if he's landing that many five-star recruits, he can't possibly be clean, can he? He sees some of himself in them, gym rats who have been overlooked.

But in a year when it would be easy to lose faith in college basketball, along came Sister Jean. It does not have lavish facilities.

MI might have been a surprise to make the Final Four once February came, but that has nothing on Loyola.

The Ramblers average 16.6 free throws per game, hitting on 72 percent of the attempts. That's just me. I do that at practice too, so people that know me know that.

And the coaches are looking at it a bit differently. But, Custer said: "We don't think of ourselves as that much of a Cinderella because we have had such a good year this year".

Adorable, right? Well, Sister Jean has a better one about Custer.

It seems everyone on the team has a story like that.

It began in the offseason when Denzel Valentine played pickup games with Loyola and lifted weights with the players. Those bobblehead dolls have skyrocketed to more than $300 on eBay. And it's just the counter to what happens in many power conferences is we have such young teams and then they have a transfer. Samford's Scott Padgett, whose team lost, 88-67, to the Ramblers on November 19, said he saw how "they constantly communicate at the defensive end", and then, at the other end: "Whoever's the open guy gets the shot". "And I had a priest, not even at my own parish, stop Mass at the end of Mass on Tuesday and say, they have Sister Jean; you have everybody here praying for you". "You have everybody here praying for you'".

MI coach John Beilein used a question posed to him about Sister Jean to remind folks that he, like the Loyola-Chicago players, is a product of a Jesuit education. These guys were overwhelmed and asked questions and were all excited about it.



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