INDIANAPOLIS – If the pregame prayer sounded more like a scouting report, it was. And if Sister Jean didn’t have any plans for next weekend, well, she does now.
Loyola Chicago carried out its 101-year-old superfan's plans to a T on Sunday, moving to the Sweet 16 with a 71-58 win over Illinois, the first No. 1 seed bounced from this year's NCAA Tournament.
Cameron Krutwig delivered a 19-point, 12-rebound masterpiece and the quick-handed, eighth-seeded Ramblers (26-4) led wire to wire. The team with the nation's leading defense befuddled powerful Illinois to return to the second weekend three years after its last magical run to the Final Four.
A hard habit to break for these Ramblers. And a classic case of nun-and-done for the Illini.
Loyola Chicago will next play Oregon State, which topped Oklahoma State 80-70 later Sunday.
“We just executed, played our game and controlled the game from the start,” Krutwig said. “Nobody was really doing anything out of body or out of mind. We just stuck to the game plan.”
Who wrote it?
Some of Loyola's wisdom comes from Sister Jean Dolores Schmidt, the venerable team chaplain, who headlined the team's 2018 run to the Final Four and received both COVID-19 vaccination shots so she could travel to Indianapolis to see what inspiration she could provide in 2021.