CHICAGO (CBS) — The Loyola Ramblers are looking for their third straight March Madness upset on Thursday.
Before the high drama on the court, there was some off the court as well, when the 11th-seeded Ramblers hit a bit of a speed bump as they prepared to face the 7th-seeded Nevada Wolf Pack.
Getting to the gym for practice on Wednesday turned into a bit of an odyssey. The team’s police escort failed to show up at their hotel in Atlanta, and then their bus driver got lost on the way to the arena, circling the stadium for nearly 45 minutes.
Once they got inside, the arena was so cold, the players needed to put on jackets and sweatshirts.
For the Ramblers, it was all just more fuel to add to their motivational fire.
Thursday night, Loyola has a chance to advance to the Elite Eight, when they take on Nevada at 6:07 p.m.
Although the Ramblers are two wins away from a trip to the Final Four, they definitely were not looking too far ahead, even though they’ve become international media darlings.
“When a team like this is having success, I guess that’s what comes with it. You’re going to get that attention, and that popularity; but like I said, we want to just focus on getting a win, and continuing to make the city of Chicago proud, and the university,” guard Donte Ingram said.
It’s been 55 years since Loyola became the first and only Illinois school to win a men’s NCAA national title. If they are to have a shot this year, they first must pull off their third consecutive upset of the tournament.
“They have a great coach, and he runs a lot of ball screens. They’ve got a lot of playmakers. So we’re going to need to definitely get out to the shooters, and definitely just play our heart out, and play really tough defense, because they’ve got a lot of good pieces,” center Cameron Krutwig said.
Coach Porter Moser has been building up his team for the past seven years. Now all the hard work has been paying off for a team that is as good as it is humble.
“I’m just so much enjoying watching our guys, watching them go through this. That’s what it’s about. It’s about coaching young men, and getting the most out of them, and enjoying the journey along the way,” he said.