Yahoo Sports College reporter Pete Thamel takes you through 8th-seeded Loyola Chicago’s upset win over 1st-seeded Illinois, and how the NCAA Selection Committee failed the Illini by seeding the Ramblers at 8.
PETE THAMEL: The first number 1 seed has exited the NCAA Tournament. Top ranked Illinois, who many people thought could win the national title, got upset by Loyola Chicago on Sunday afternoon, 71 to 58. We all remember Loyola Chicago from the 2018 tournament, when Sister Jean and the boys marched all the way to the Final Four.
Well, this wasn't divine intervention on Sunday. This was schoolyard bullying. Loyola dominated the game from wire to wire. Don't tell Sister Jean, but the boys from Loyola curb stomped Illinois and took their lunch money.
Illinois hit just four of 14 from 3-point range, turned the ball over 17 times. And the only thing they led the game in was complaining to the officials. This was a complete and utter domination. And Porter Moser deserves a lot of credit for an elite defensive game plan.
Cameron Krutwig was the anchor on both ends of the floor. The 6' 9", YMCA game, mall cop stache center is destined to become one of the faces of this NCAA Tournament. He finished with 19 points, 12 rebounds, and was the epicenter of calm every time Illinois made a small push to get back in the game.
8th seeded Loyola showed everybody on Sunday why they should never have been an 8th seed. They won their 26th game this season. They've been in the top 10 in KenPom's rankings all year, including the number three defense.
This was a disastrous decision by the NCAA selection committee, which for decades has shown biases against big mid-major teams. Look, this Loyola program shouldn't be considered a mid-major anymore. They made the Final Four three seasons ago.
But the committee has shown a consistent and firm bias against mid-majors. And quite frankly, it's going to cost their own tournament. Illinois deserved better. Illinois should not have been playing this Loyola team, which was an 8 seed on Sunday. Loyola should have been at least a 5. They had the resume. They had the metrics. And boy, did they pass the eye test.
Shame on the NCAA. Good for Loyola. Illinois goes home. And we've got another week of Sister Jean in March.