Eight Seed Loyola Chicago Beats First Seed Illinois: Another Sister Jean Spectacle?


James Porter-Delgardo, Staff Writer

The best thing about March Madness is the upsets, the ‘Cinderella stories’, and the overall energy of college basketball making the month of March a true spectacle. Over the years we have seen some huge upsets in the competition. In 2013, No. 15 seed FGCU “Dunk City” upset No. 2 seed Georgetown, this year No. 15 seed. Oral Roberts beat No. 2 seed Ohio and No. 7 seed Florida in the next game. Although, one of the most famous ‘Cinderella stories’ was in 2018, when 11 seed Loyola Chicago made the Final Four, in a sister jean spectacle.

Now you might be asking, who the heck is Sister Jean? Here’s the scoop.

Sister Jean is a 101-year-old woman who worked at Loyola Chicago University who is currently a resident of the windy city. The ‘Basketball Nun’, a nickname the announcers gave her in 2018 during the first weeks of March Madness when she attended Loyola’s first few games, got her affiliation with the Ramblers men’s basketball team in ‘94 when she was thinking about retirement but was instead offered another job by the University. 

She was given the task to help student-athletes keep up their grades so they could maintain their eligibility to play. This eventually evolved into her being named team chaplain, meaning, she provides spiritual guidance for the team, hence the nickname, ‘Basketball Nun’. Her pre-game prayers and advice have influenced excellence out of this team. Her role with this team earned her a lot of accolades and eventually earned her an induction into the Loyola-Athletics Hall of Fame. 

Sister Jean is now retired, but she still attends every Loyola March Madness game and was even a driving force behind Loyola’s 2018 final four runs with her Catholic prayer. 

This year, the Ramblers entered the March Madness tournament as the No. 8 seed. They beat No. 9 seed Georgia Tech and then upset No. 1 seed Illinois. In these two games, it’s easy to see that this year, Loyola could beat almost any team the bracket threw their way. Defensively they’re a solid team. With their great 3 point shooting, they get momentum offensively, and can’t be stopped. Also, Cameron Kurtwig, their center, scored 19 points against No. 1 seed Illinois. With Kurtwig being a big presence under the basket, this team could get another final four run or even compete for the national championship.

This year’s March Madness has been, to put it shortly, ‘mad’. With upsets left and right. Out of 14.7 million brackets filled out, no bracket remained perfect after 28 games. Out of every team that is still in the tournament No. 1 seed Gonzaga looks the most competitive and the fittest to win the National Championship. But Loyola is a sneaky good team, and they could have another ‘Sister Jean Spectacle’ in the works.

The Loyola Rambler’s play No. 12 seed Oregon State Beavers Friday, March 27th in a chance to go to the ‘Elite Eight.’