From Twitter: @moconnelljr… If anyone asks about my bracket I’ll say I got half the teams in the Final Four. And leave it at that. #MarchMadness
That pretty much sums it up. For all the upsets and bracket chaos we still ended up with two number one seeds in the Final Four. One team that has absolutely no business being there, and another that will be America’s most hated team Saturday evening. (Sorry, Michigan. It’s true.)
The story, of course, is Loyola-Chicago, darlings of the Midwest, the nation, and the world. It’s not just that they’re an 11 seed. They’re an 11 seed that nobody had ever heard of, from a bottom-of-the-barrel conference, that somehow pulled off three squeaker victories before taking it to Kansas State this past Saturday.
Not since UNLV won it all in 1990 has a team from a “weak” conference won it all. And UNLV was a powerhouse team. The last time a nobody team from a nobody conference won the national championship? Probably these same Loyola Ramblers in 1963, though Texas Western pulled off the same feat three years later. The list of “bad conference” champions the past 50 years is exactly three names long. UNLV, Marquette (which wasn’t in a conference), and Louisville, who won two titles as a member of the “Metro Conference.”
Oh, this would be sweet to see Loyola-Chicago bring it home for the…
(Have you Googled it yet?)
… Missouri Valley Conference, home of basketball powerhouses Bradley, Drake, Evansville, and Southern Illinois, among others.
Cinderella story… comin’ outta nowhere.