College basketball teams who lost to Chicago’s Loyola University found themselves sharing the lessons they learned during the previous seasons. The coaches of teams from various NCAA men’s basketball squads opposing the rise of Loyola Chicago to the Final Four made their own comments about how their team played but failed to reach the top rank.
Kareem Richardson, running the Missouri-Kansas City men’s league said, “I’m sure just like every coach at the non-Power Five, especially since we played them and had them on the ropes, it kind of, it just gives you hope.” His team was leading by 6 points during the game halftime last Nov. 16. Although they had the lead, Loyola University was able to beat them with a score of 66-56.
UNC Wilmington coach C.B. McGrath, who happens to be running the basketball team for the first year says that he, “sees a terrific example for every program outside the Power Five. It can be done so no matter what school you’re at and no matter where you’re at, and our guys will remember playing against them and that they were all in sync.”
Rob Senderoff, Kent State’s head coach also says, “Certainly, I say this: Their personnel is very good, but as a coach, you sort of think your personnel is comparable. If a team you’re playing in a similar conference makes it to the Final Four, it’s something you can point to with your players.” They lost to the game last Nov. 25 in Savannah with a score of 75-60.
Wright State University coach Scott Nagy shares, “For us, the only thing you could take away from it is knowing just in terms of the talent level and how we played, we’re not that far from doing what Loyola’s doing. It gives our kids the confidence of, “We could do that.” They were the season opener for Loyola Chicago for the NCAA Tournament but lost the game, 84-80.
This is the team’s re-entry to the semi-finals after a drought period for more than 33 years. The last time they were able to enter the national semis was in 1963, winning the title.