Loyola Athletics Men's basketball 2017-18 Year in Review
A season to remember
How the Loyola Ramblers went from college basketball unknowns to the most talked about team in the nation
As the buses rolled down Sheridan Avenue, reality had not yet sunk in. The members of the Loyola men’s basketball team had just come off an unbelievable six days in Dallas, where they went from being an upset pick to a serious contender in the NCAA March Madness tournament. And yet everything still seemed surreal: the chartered plane, the video of the Chicago Cubs players wishing them luck, the thunderous reaction to their not one, but two, last-second victories, and now, a police escort leading their bus back home to the Lake Shore Campus, where hundreds of fans gathered to welcome them home.
When they got close enough to see the campus, the players moved to the bus windows and pulled out their phones to record the fans decked out in Rambler scarves and Loyola gear. The crowd stretched across campus, cheering “L-U-C” as the bus approached.
Little did the team know just how much they had captured the attention of the Loyola community, not to mention the entire city of Chicago. Even the former U.S. president was rooting them on via Twitter.
While the players had been focused on what was happening in Dallas, back home students, faculty, and staff had packed watch parties on the Lake Shore, Water Tower, and Health Sciences campuses. Alumni gathered in Rogers Park, downtown Chicago, and in cities around the country to cheer on their team. And many of those fans packed the quad on a sunny Sunday afternoon in the hope of getting an autograph or taking a selfie with one of the players.
Inside the bus, the team was floored. “No way!” they said as they looked at the size of the crowd. "Where were all these people at the beginning of the season?"