SOC - Loyola

Mar 21, 2021

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Just got back from the Abilene Christian/Texas game. And now I hate the Committee even more.

I just don't like narratives. I don't like storylines. Right now, Texas fans REALLY don't like narratives and storylines. Texas could have played Eastern Washington, Colgate, or Morehead State. Instead they played Abilene Christian. Abilene Christian players wanted nothing more than to beat Texas... and they beat Texas.

Loyola players want nothing more than to beat Illinois. I hate that we have to face that. If we had any of the other 8-seeds - Oklahoma, North Carolina, or LSU - I'd feel supremely confident tomorrow. We play Loyola, and I hate it. I think we all hate it.

It makes me think of all the UIC games the last 15 years. In 2010/11, UIC won only 1 game between December 2nd and January 29th. 1-13 during that span. The one win? 57-54 over #14 Illinois. They go 7-24 that season, often losing by 20+... but they beat Illinois.

I just hate this hate this hate this. Gonzaga's 8-seed second-round opponent is KenPom #41. Our 8-seed second-round opponent is Kenpom #9. I could go on and on and on with this. Our second-round opponent is the third scariest team in our region.

So I don't want to play this game. I don't want to go to bed because I have to wake up tomorrow and that's when the game happens. Just get me to 2:30 EDT tomorrow and tell me the score. Seriously, sometimes I hope I completely oversleep and wake up after the game is over.

Thought of a song that describes what I'm thinking. Farther To Fall by David Wilcox. It's a song about relationships. When they start to get really serious, it's more exciting but also more frightening. And he relates it to walking along railroad tracks, balancing on the rails, and then you get to a tall bridge. It's not harder to balance on the rails - you just have farther to fall. Some lyrics.

Balance is no harder after all
Out across this bridge so tall
Balance is no harder
It's just that you've got farther
Now you've just got farther to fall

Yeah, that's totally it. That's how I feel about tomorrow (and, should we win, will increasingly feel about the four games after that). It's not any harder. We just have farther to fall. I think I'm now afraid of heights.

Thankfully, I don't think our team is afraid of heights. There's going to be a game where we struggle (it happens), and I'm pretty sure that game will come against Loyola, and so I'm going to be pulling my hair out in around 11 hours. It's going to be a four point game with three minutes to go and I probably won't be able to stand. I already hate every feeling I'm going to feel.

But I do think we have the team to pull out a game like that. I'm so glad Ayo missed the shot in regulation against Ohio State in the Big Ten Tournament because we're going to need him to hit one of those tomorrow. Just feels like it will be one of those "Giorgi fouled out, Kofi with four fouls, one-possession game as we approach the closing seconds, save us, Ayo" games. And I think Ayo will save us.

Illinois 63, Loyola 60


DB50 on March 21, 2021 @ 07:16 AM

A game from 10 years ago when the quality of the players on Illinois’s team was totally different than now. Yes, Loyola is a very good team and could win today. However, if we come to play I like our chances with to win.

pwillits on March 21, 2021 @ 07:34 AM

Illini 74 LC 58.

ClassOfDeeDeronJames on March 21, 2021 @ 07:39 AM

I'm oddly calm about this game. This Loyola team has never played anyone of our caliber. Ayo, Kofi, Belo, Trent, Ace, etc. The talent and poise of our team is going to overwhelm them. I trust our coaches and our players to not overlook this one. Illini by double digits.

ATOillini on March 21, 2021 @ 07:56 AM

There simply is nothing like March Madness. I’m watching Ohio upset Virginia last night and found myself giddy and scared to death at the same time. Virginia was this close to getting control of the game early in the second half. But they didn’t. They left a window open. Next thing you know Ohio ends up making 13 of 14 free throws for the game, including 6 for 6 in the last 44 seconds.

Shortly thereafter I’m tossing and turning in bed with horrible thoughts of Austin Peay, Sean Higgins, Arizona making 43 of 56 free throws (yes, 56), Sean May vs James Augustine.....running through my brain. Pins and needles indeed.

GilThorpe on March 21, 2021 @ 07:58 AM

oh, it could very well be a close one , but I think our toughest game will be one we don’t predict at all . I have us winning this game by 8.
Illini 78 Loyola 70

IlliniJoe81 on March 21, 2021 @ 08:37 AM

Weird game. Computers make this look tough. Storylines make this look tough. Look at the actual matchups and it looks like Illinois walks all over these guys.

Sam on March 21, 2021 @ 08:46 AM

Our guys got stones. I feel nothing but excitement!

larue on March 21, 2021 @ 09:04 AM

I recently watched Loyola really struggle to beat a very mediocre SIU team. They then played SIU again and went to overtime. Not sure why, but I think Pomeroy's formula greatly overrates them. Anything can happen in the tournament, but we should win this one decisively.

PowerGranger on March 21, 2021 @ 09:17 AM

The NHL was at least open about throwing out records to set up rivals in the playoffs. I hate that too.

IBFan on March 21, 2021 @ 09:35 AM

KenPom is off. Still can’t get why people put so much faith into an incredibly flawed stat driven model. Anybody can watch a couple of their games and see that Loyola would not even remotely have the same record or KenPom ratings if in the BIG. Agree with Robert on the storylines. Illinois’ bracket had the most manipulation of any of the regions but it is prevalent throughout. UCLA/Mich St from the hop and all the way to AbChristian/Texas last night. on March 21, 2021 @ 03:06 PM

somebody came to play, and somebody didn't... EOS..

BananaShampoo on March 21, 2021 @ 05:38 PM

Seems as though your concerns were well founded, Robert. Oh well. Still a heck of a season.

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