March Madness: Loyola faces Nevada in bracket-busting Sweet 16 South

Mayor Emanuel makes sweet wager with Reno Mayor Schieve on outcome
CHICAGO (WLS) -- The Loyola University Chicago men's basketball arrived in Atlanta Wednesday for their Sweet 16 matchup against the University of Nevada in the NCAA Tournament.

The Ramblers have not been in the Sweet 16 since 1985.

"This hasn't happened in such a long time that everybody is, like, so pumped about it," Said Hannah Turcinovic, Loyola student.

"It's going to be crazy if it goes down to a buzzer beater again," said student Madalin Tomaschko.

For those who can't watch the action in person, 49th Ward Alderman Joe Moore and the 400 Theater in Rogers Park are hosting a viewing party.

"This has been a wonderful thing for our community. The Loyola Ramblers are Rogers Park's home team and this is an opportunity for the community to come together," Moore said.

The wins have been good for business at the campus bookstore as well. One of their newest t-shirts describes what the team has been doing to their opponents: "Breaking hearts and brackets."

"I'm a t-shirt person, so I got them all," said Stephanie Nash, Loyola Student.

The Ramblers tournament play brought back old memories for Joe Hutchmacher who played on the team from 1948 to 1952.

"I think they have a good chance against Nevada because they play a very disciplined game," he said.

Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel made a friendly wager Wednesday with Reno Mayor Hillary Schieve on the outcome of Thursday's game.

At stake in this sweet wager are 16 dozen doughnuts. If the Loyola Ramblers are victorious, Mayor Schieve will order 16 dozen doughnuts from Dat Donut in the Chatham neighborhood to be delivered to Chicago City Hall. If the Nevada Wolf Pack wins, Mayor Emanuel will order 16 dozen doughnuts from DoughBoys Donuts to be delivered to Reno City Hall.

"The Loyola Ramblers have electrified Chicago, and fans across the city are looking forward to cheering on Simeon High School's Donte Ingram, Whitney Young's Lucas Williamson and the entire team tomorrow night," said Mayor Emanuel. "While I fully expect that we'll be celebrating a win with Chatham donuts at Chicago City Hall, we're prepared to deliver sweet treats to Reno City Hall in the unlikely event the Wolf Pack is able to earn a Sweet Sixteen victory."

"It's been an unbelievable season for our Wolf Pack as they stay focused on The Hunt," said Mayor Schieve. "Coach Eric Musselman's squad has shown perseverance, heart, and gumption in their thrilling 14 and 22-point comebacks. That's the story of Reno, too. We could be down, but you can never count out the Biggest Little City. We are looking forward to our donuts Mayor Emanuel!"

BOTTOM LINE: Loyola is on quite a roll in its first NCAA Tournament appearance since 1985, adding to a storied basketball history that includes winning the national title in 1963 with an overtime victory over Cincinnati. That same season, the Ramblers beat Mississippi State in a regional semifinal that became known as the "Game of Change" - a racially charged contest played in defiance of Mississippi's informal law barring its schools from competing against racially integrated teams such as Loyola.

SEEING DOUBLE: Nevada sends out an interchangeable lineup with fluid positions and no player taller than 6-foot-7. That can make it hard to keep up with who has the ball - especially when two of the players are twins: Caleb and Cody Martin. Caleb is the team's leading scorer at 18.8 points a game, while Cody averages 14.0 points, 6.3 rebounds and 4.7 assists.

COACHING TREE: Nevada coach Eric Musselman is following in the footsteps of his father Bill, whose long coaching career included stops in high school, college, the NBA and several lesser professional leagues. Bill died in 2000 at the age of 59.

QUOTABLE: "It just goes to show that maybe the difference between high-major basketball and mid-major basketball isn't as big of a difference anymore. I think that there's a lot of really, really good teams out there." - Loyola's Clayton Custer on the rash of upsets in the South Region, which lost its top four seeds on the first weekend of the tournament.

Loyola and Nevada are set to face off at Philips Arena in Atlanta on Thursday at 6:07 p.m. CT.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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