Clayton Custer's 'good bounce' sends Loyola to Sweet 16

Ruben Ruiz
March 21, 2018

Without fail after victories, Loyola coach Porter Moser opens his remarks in a way that stays true to the school's Jesuit mission. They're the only two Division I colleges in the state that play the men's game.

Loyola will face either Nevada or Cincinnati in the Sweet 16. Jean said, she told the team: "We want to win, we want to get the big "W" up there and we did". Clearly, I don't. So I'd be glad to issue an apology to Sister Jean and to anyone who felt that my joke was meant to be anti-Catholic or anti-elderly.

The annual NCAA men's basketball tournament always has its share of feel-good stories.

Along with their national title, the Ramblers went to the Sweet 16 in their last NCAA Tournament 33 years ago before Patrick Ewing and Georgetown beat them in the third round.

Arguably the nation's most horrifying mascot (yes, even more than Purdue Pete) lost its chance to continue haunting the dreams of college basketball fans everywhere, when Providence lost Friday to Texas A&M. Still, Moser had a plan, one without shortcuts, to create a winning culture.

Custer's victor came two days after Donte Ingram's buzzer-beating 3 from the March Madness logo against Miami, surely to the delight of Sister Jean Dolores Schmidt, the team chaplain and occasional coach, watching from her wheelchair on a platform near the main TV cameras. It's the team that's playing well at that particular time. After all, who doesn't love seeing underdog teams going deep into the tournament thanks to an upset or two?

The television home to such cultural gems as "Impractical Jokers" and "Bobcat Goldthwait's Misfits & Monsters" briefly gets a whole new clientele to watch a few tournament games, assuming people can find it on their TVs. "You know, they just kept believing". "The ball bounced on the rim and I got a good bounce". The system perfectly fits the Missouri Valley Conference, a league full of offenses reliant on execution more than isolation.

"They started making shots", said Schofield.

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Every Loyola player commits to the idea that his teammate can do the job as well as he can, that five must work as one. "We just go one game at a time, though".

He was right, as was Custer when he expressed a similar sentiment after Saturday's heroics. Why are we so soft on the Internet, yet in real life people are joking around about things that they wouldn't post online?

Stop Ingram or Custer and somebody else likely will step up, as Aundre Jackson did against Tennessee.

The 1963 Loyola team won the national championship. Their height issues are terrifying (no returnee over 6-foot-6) and though 6-foot-9, 260-pound incoming freshman Cameron Krutwig has potential, he's not an immediate-impact player. Tennessee jumped on them early in the second round, leading by nine in the first half, and then the Volunteers erased a nine-point second half Loyola lead to grab the lead in the final minute.

At 30-5 with a regular season victory at SEC power Florida this season, the Ramblers aren't a fluke.

McClure continued to say that he would apologize to Sister Jean, but still hoped that she would understand his "joke".

"As a group, these guys felt they could win, and they're going to look back on it in a couple weeks and realize that it was a special year".

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