As I have mentioned in this blog before, I enjoy college basketball. Sadly, my one true team, Wake Forest has been in shambles the past few years. I also have ties to both University of Maryland and Loyola University Maryland too though. I attended graduate school at both institutions and currently work at Loyola. As such Maryland has become my backup ACC team when Wake Forest is not doing well, though I always cheer for Wake over Maryland. They unfortunately were not a great back up team this year either as they were barely any better than Wake was.
Until this year I have never really paid any attention to Loyola basketball. I always had my ACC schools to watch, and Loyola even within one of the lesser Division I athletic conferences has been notoriously bad at basketball the entire time I’ve been affiliated with them. That is until this year when they actually started to win games. I didn’t attend any in person but did see several on TV this year, which is a first. About halfway through the season, when it became clear that neither Wake nor Maryland were going to make anything of themselves, but Loyola actually had a shot at winning their conference and getting an automatic bid to the NCAA tournament I started cheering them on like never before. Loyola somehow became my only hope of seeing a team I had a connection with in the big dance this year as improbable as that seemed.
Tonight they managed to pull it off in a nail biter of a game that had me on the edge of my seat about to have a heart attack. They beat Fairfield to win the MAAC championship and a bid to the tournament. It’s only the second time they have ever been in the NCAA tournament, the last and only previous time being back in 1994 (under the coaching I might add of Skip Prosser, who sadly passed away during his tenure as Wake Forest’s coach). They’ll probably only be a 15 or 16 seed and lose in the first round, but for Loyola basketball this is a huge accomplishment, and I’ll be excited to cheer them on in their game. That’s more than I can really say about the final Wake and Maryland games I’ll be watching later this week when they actually play each other in the first round of the ACC tournament. So I temporarily throw my full support behind Loyola and say Go Greyhounds!