For the first time since the 2010-11 season, our beloved Cyclones have not made the tournament. The NCAA has been very clear to the other non-Drake fans in the state that if the State Champion (Iowa State) isn’t welcome to the postseason, nobody else should be welcome to put on their dancing shoes.
Now, WRNL has decided to adopt a team for this year’s tournament. We could’ve settled on a Big 12 team, a perennial power, or a potential Cinderella. We are going the Cinderella route, and as much as we love Otzelberger, and as much as we hope Hallice Cooke does well with Nevada, we chose Loyola (IL).
This isn’t your grandfather’s Loyola squad, as these Ramblers probably aren’t poised to win the title as they once did back in 1963. Jerry Harkness is likely the most common name associated with that ‘62-’63 color-barrier breaking squad that beat Cincinnati in an all-time classic as seen below.
Will former Cyclone Clay Custer be able to muster up Hilton Magic that he may have stored away for a special time such as this? Possibly.
Will he remember lessons his late teammate Bryce Dejean-Jones taught him following Bryce’s game against Arkansas? It would be very likely as the MVC Player of the Year has had statistically (as seen below) a great year, Custer has also scored more than 20 points five times this season.
|2017-18||Loyola (IL)||MVC||28||28||32.4||4.9||9.4||.523||3.1||5.2||.589||1.8||4.1||.440||1.8||2.4||.773||0.3||2.0||2.3||4.3||1.5||0.1||2.1||1.8||13.4||-0.29||MVC POY|
The Ramblers (with their 12/10 would noggin pat logo) come into the tournament with the highest field goal percentage at just under 51%. They are also are 9th overall for defensive efficiency, allowing about 0.927 Points Per Possession.
Jim Larrañaga, the Miami head coach, will have his team as ready as it can be for another force of nature, those that have been Cyclones in one way or another (who are 1-0 all-time against Miami (FL)).
The game starts at 2:10 over on TruTV, let’s go Ramblers!
Nice fact: Clay Custer played a total of 69 minutes at Iowa State.