The 11th seeded Loyola Ramblers will take on the 9h seeded Kansas State Wildcats in the Elite Eight for the South region Saturday night. It is the first time ever a 9th and 11th seed will be playing with a trip to Final Four on the line. The Wildcats have beaten three higher seeded teams including a close 61-58 victory over the 5th seeded Kentucky Wildcats in the Sweet Sixteen. They will be advancing to Elite Eight for the first time since 2010. Loyola’s improbable run is even more impressive as their 3 wins have been by a combined 4 points. They defeated the 7th seeded Nevada Wolf Pack 69-68 to advance. Barry Brown hit the game winner with six seconds to go in what is now their third last second game winning jump shot in a row.

Xavier Sneed led the way for Kansas State scoring 22 points and grabbing 9 rebounds. Brown was the only other Wildcat in double figures with 13 to go along with 3 assists. As a team they made 35 percent of their field goals including 9 of 22 from behind the arc. They lost the rebounding battle 38 to 29 and made 14 of their 22 free throws. Defensively, they shined with 11 steals including four from Kamau Stokes. They limited Kentucky to 38 percent shooting including just 3 of 12 from behind the arc. They also won the turnover battle 15 to 10. They have yet to allow any of their first three opponents to score 60 points. If there was a negative for the Wildcats defense it was that they committed 30 personal fouls, which resulted in 37 free throws and 3 players fouling out.

Good shooting propelled Loyola to the win in the Sweet Sixteen as they shot 56 percent from the field making 29 of their 52 shot attempts. Marques Townes did it all as he led his team in both points with 18 and assists with 5 while also grabbing 4 rebounds. They committed 16 turnovers, made 6 of their 8 free throws while outrebounding Nevada 32 to 24. Defensively, they had 6 steals and 1 block on their way to forcing 10 turnovers. The 68 points they allowed was the most in their past 8 games.

Despite the 13th seed, Loyola won both the Missouri conference regular season and tournament titles and have won 17 of their last 18 games overall. Kansas State Coach Bruce Weber has Elite Eight experience as he took his 2010 Illinois team to the Final Four. Kansas State is a combined 0-7 this season against teams that made this year’s Sweet Sixteen in Texas Tech, Kansas and West Virginia. The spread is even for this game as these high-seeded teams are making history. Both teams will be looking to return to the Final Four in over 50 years as The Ramblers last appearance was 1963 and the Wildcats haven’t been there since 1964.

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