Loyola Ramblers to face Miami Hurricanes in first NCAA Tournament game since '85

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The Loyola Ramblers were officially invited to their first NCAA Tournament since 1985. (WLS)

Celebrations were underway at Loyola University after the Ramblers were officially invited to the "Big Dance" during a Selection Sunday party at Gentile Arena.

Students returned from spring break early to learn who the team would face in their first NCAA Tournament game since 1985.

The result - 11th-seed Ramblers will go up against sixth-seed Miami Hurricanes in Dallas.

Despite being the underdog, Loyola fans were confident in their team.

"It's amazing," said Loyola student Areeba Javed. "It is such high energy. Everyone is so excited. My friends and I have been here all season supporting the team."

Alumni Tim Nazanin and Martyn Hilliard followed the team all season and even started a podcast dedicated to the Ramblers.

"When I came from England, I didn't know about basketball," Hilliard said. "When I moved here and I came to this school, it seemed like they didn't have a hope and prayer. Now look at us!"

Freshman shooting guard and Whitney Young graduate Lucas Williamson wasn't even alive the last time the Ramblers went to the tournament.

"It's kind of surreal, feeling kind of surreal this whole week and seeing Loyola on the board," Williamson said. "It's solidified now that we are going to the Big Dance. It's a dream come true, but we got a lot of business to take care of."

The Ramblers are the only team from Illinois to make the tournament this year.

The Ramblers will face the Miami Hurricanes at 2:10 p.m. Thursday in Dallas for the South Regional Game.
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