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March Madness: Loyola basketball team heads to San Antonio for Final Four

March Madness: Loyola basketball team heads to San Antonio for Final Four

They've fought through tough regional fields to stand within two wins of glory and aren't expected to back away from the bright lights now.

The Kansas Jayhawks arrived in San Antonio on Wednesday afternoon ahead of their first Final Four since 2012. On the same side of the bracket, KU and Villanova square off Saturday. The finals, also on TBS, will tip off at 7:20 p.m. MT on Monday.

For the last three years, Graham has seen his team win some tournament games, but he has never been this close to the title.

Kris Jenkins and Josh Hart tested their draft stocks after Villanova's 2016 national title, but both returned for their senior seasons. But this year's group is special for the fact that it's overcome a lot of adversity and doubt (even from its own coach) to get here. "I'm just glad that we get to play". The Huskies beat the Irish in early December, rallying for an 80-71 win. Villanova does most of its damage from the perimeter, shooting at a 40.0 percent clip on 3-pointers. In my opinion, Duke had more player depth but KU played pretty well in OT. After an upset-filled first round, the second round exhibited just what we imagined: that any team could fall. It also helps that they can really share the ball, once again averaging the most assists per game as a team out of all Final Four teams. We just said, 'Let's go to work'.

Seventh-grader Jude Stamper from Monroe, Michigan has been a big part in helping the No. 3 seed Wolverines continue their winning streak. MI finished fourth in an up-and-down Big 10 conference, but is playing its best basketball when it matters most. She lost four players over the course of the season to ACL injuries, but the Irish find themselves back in the Final Four after rallying from a six-point halftime deficit to beat OR 84-74 on Monday night. The Ramblers have hijacked the 2018 NCAA Tournament. The shot ripped Houston's heart out and seemed to give MI an extra bounce in its step. Loyola Chicago, which shot a healthy 57 percent in the South final, talked about limiting Kansas State to 35 percent.

The Huskies will face former Big East rival Notre Dame on Friday night. However, the future remains bright for Stanford with the unearthing of point guard Kiana Williams and Smith still with one season left to lead from the front.

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In the six years since Kansas last made the Final Four, coach Bill Self has produced eight National Basketball Association draft picks.

It's the 11th consecutive Final Four appearance for the Huskies, breaking a tie with John Wooden and the UCLA men's team for the Division I record.

The list of past AP national players of the year include some of the sport's all-time greats, including Wake Forest's Tim Duncan, LSU's Shaquille O'Neal, North Carolina's Michael Jordan, Virginia's Ralph Sampson, Indiana State's Larry Bird, UCLA's Bill Walton, LSU's "Pistol" Pete Maravich and UCLA's Lew Alcindor.

"I wish Coach (Rick) Majerus was around", Moser said.

The Loyola-Chicago Ramblers know they will not keep advancing simply because they're a nice story.

Team Chaplain Sister Jean has captivated the world over the past few weeks as she has continued to be the Ramblers' biggest fan through the tournament.

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