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Many brackets are officially busted today, as the first No. 1 seed has officially been knocked out of the 2021 NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament.
Illinois was stunned 71-58 on Sunday afternoon by the No. 8 seed Loyola Ramblers. The Ramblers seemed to control the pace of the game from start to finish.
Loyola led by nine at the half, 33-24, and held off the Fighting Illini in the second half, outscoring them 38-34 to extend the lead to a 13-point victory. Loyola will now move on to the Sweet 16 in the Midwest Region.
Oh, and in case you forgot, let’s remember that 101-year-old Sister Jean, the team’s beloved chaplain and the darling of the 2018 Tournament, got a chance to enjoy this one as well.
— Maureen O'Donnell (@suntimesobits) March 21, 2021
This upset could have been predicted by those who paid attention to how well Loyola played for most of the season. They won 18 out of their last 19 regular season and conference tournament games and entered the Big Dance with a mark of 26-4. Their defense held the Fighting Illini in check all afternoon.
Now it’ll be a long offseason for Illinois, who thought wrapping up the year on an eight-game winning streak would be enough to go deep in the tourney.
Instead, it’s a Sunday ‘Bracket Buster.’ The Fighting Illini are going home, and the Loyola of Chicago Ramblers keep up their impressive win streak. With their defensive ability, they will be tough to beat.