Sister Jean and the No. 11 seed Loyola Chicago Ramblers kept up their magic with a 69-68 victory over No. 7 seed Nevada in Thursday evening’s Sweet 16 action.
A couple hours later, the No. 9 Kansas State Wildcats pulled off a bigger upset by taking down the No. 5 Kentucky Wildcats.
Kansas State did that despite looking awful in their win over 16-seed UMBC in the second round, and despite having three players fouling out on Thursday, which forced them to play the final minutes without a guy over 6’4″.
Kansas State was a 0-7 vs. the teams in the Sweet 16, worst in the tournament.
They played 90% of the game without their best player, and 3 other players fouled out.
They played the last 5 mins without a player over 6-4.
They shot 15 fewer FTs, got out-rebounded and out-shot.
— Howie Lindsey (@howielindsey) March 23, 2018
So here we are with a highly, highly improbable Elite Eight matchup: Loyola Chicago vs Kansas State.
In fact, this will mark the first time in NCAA Tournament history that an 11-seed meets a 9-seed in the Elite Eight.
And that of course means we’ll have an 11 or 9-seed in the Final Four. That number could grow to as high as three teams that are at least 9-seeds in the Final Four, with No. 11 Syracuse facing Duke on Friday night, and the No. 9 Florida State Seminoles pulling off an upset over the No. 4 Gonzaga Bulldogs on Thursday.
But this Loyola Chicago-Kansas State Elite Eight matchup perfectly shows how nutty the 2018 NCAA Tournament is. Here are some tweets about that matchup and one of the craziest tournaments we’ve ever seen:
Kansas State last made the Final Four in 1964.
Loyola Chicago last got there in 1963.
On Saturday they’ll play each other, an improbable 9 and an 11, and one will finally get back.
This 2018 NCAA Tournament is outrageous. And incredible.
— Matt Norlander (@MattNorlander) March 23, 2018
The "unfairly stacked" East Region had …
And Loyola-Chicago will play Kansas State for a spot in the Final Four.
— Ryan Fagan (@ryanfagan) March 23, 2018
Elite Eight teams on left side of bracket with rank by committee seed list:
Kansas State (#34)
Florida State (#38)
Loyola Chicago (#46)
The CFB equivalent, per Massey Composite, is a 4-team playoff for a NCG spot with TCU, Boston College, Fresno State and Navy.
— RedditCFB (@RedditCFB) March 23, 2018
One of these teams will be playing for the national championship a week from Monday: Loyola Chicago, Kansas State, Florida State or Michigan.
— Jeff Goodman (@GoodmanESPN) March 23, 2018
I just have zero idea how we’re about to have both Kansas State and Florida State in the Elite Eight. More shocking to me than Loyola, to be honest.
— Sam Vecenie (@Sam_Vecenie) March 23, 2018
Out of 17.3 million brackets on ESPN:
0.4% have Loyola-Chicago in the Elite Eight
1.4% have Kansas State in the Elite Eight
2.3% have FSU in the Elite Eight
32% have Michigan in the Elite Eight.
— Darren Rovell (@darrenrovell) March 23, 2018
Stunned. Kansas State vs. Loyola-Chicago for a trip to the Final Four Saturday in Atlanta. Stunned.
— Andy Katz (@TheAndyKatz) March 23, 2018
Those teams received a combined 6 preseason votes in the AP top 25 poll.
One of them will play for a national title.
— Connor O'Gara (@cjogara) March 23, 2018
Loyola Chicago and Kansas State will tip off at 6:09 PM ET on Saturday (TBS) for the right to go to the Final Four.