Even Leonard Hamilton can’t wreck a March Madness filled with Ramblers and Retrievers

Posted: 03/25/2018 in college basketball
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I have to say it has been one fun month of March Madness.

Ramblers. Sister Jean. Retrievers. Buffalo spanking Sean Miller’s team. Eric Musselman’s daughter.

Yeah, a pretty fun NCAA Tournament, even if I’ve been to the store three times to buy red ink.

There are actually people below me in the bracket pool, which defies all logic. Only thing dumber would be deciding not to call a timeout when there are 11 seconds left in a four-point game with a Final Four berth on the line.

Late for dinner reservations, Leonard Hamilton? And wow, surly and rude when asked a legitimate question in the postgame interview. Just imagine how rude the Florida State coach is to reporters when he isn’t on camera.

Pretty funny the next day to see Coach K call timeout with Duke down five with the same amount of time left.

Earlier in March, Virginia trailed Louisville by four points with 0.9 seconds left and won the game in regulation. There is a reason why you don’t quit in a two-possession game.

Heck, I covered a game where San Diego State led UNLV by 10 points (a four-possession game) with under 20 seconds left and collapsed like a deck of cards in a tornado. Yep, the Aztecs didn’t win. They lost in overtime.

But enough about collapses, how about Loyola-Chicago becoming America’s Team?

Best part of this story is that the NCAA Selection Committee was going to shaft these Ramblers if they didn’t win their conference tourney.

We would have never heard of Sister Jean, the youngest 98-year-old in Chicago history. Heck, she’s more alive than some people half her age.

And how about that Kansas State shot that was 99.9 percent in the hole and somehow came out? You just know Sister Jean was in on that one.

The Ramblers won their first three games by a combined FOUR POINTS. That is pretty amazing clutch play from a bunch of guys none of us ever heard of prior to this month.

Then they whipped Kansas State to get to the Final Four.

Think of this, the Ramblers have defeated teams from the ACC (Miami), SEC (Tennessee) and Big 12 (Kansas State) on neutral courts. You know, the type of programs that would never play a road game at Loyola-Chicago.

The Ramblers won a national title back in 1963. Guess we might hear a little about that this week.

Oh yeah, can’t forget the Retrievers of UMBC.

The first time a 16 seed has defeated a 1 seed finally occurred and it was a major league beat down. UMBC (which stands for University of Maryland Baltimore County) rolled to a 74-54 victory over Virginia, the top-seeded team in the entire tournament.

UMBC went viral in a way like never before. Heck, I tried to order that outstanding piece of Retrievers wall art to hang in the fabulous three-story mansion and the poor UMBC bookstore is drowning under thousands of orders.

It might be next basketball season by the team they fill my order.

But what an amazing accomplishment and you have to admit it is kind of fun to say “Retrievers” instead of Eagles or Wildcats.

Oh yeah, Wildcats. So fun to watch Buffalo — BUFFALO! — totally wallop Miller and his Arizona squad.

Meanwhile, Musselmann is surely cussing somewhere about now, still steaming that his Nevada team went down to the Ramblers.

But after Sister Jean, his cool 8-year-old daughter Mariah is the second-best person we learned about during March Madness.

It is serious time next weekend when Villanova plays Kansas and Michigan plays Loyola-Chicago but you never know what Sister Jean has in store.

Just saying don’t be surprised if Loyola-Chicago is playing for the national title on April 2.

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