Loyola Ramblers Men’s Basketball: Is an NCAA Championship in the Picture

The Loyola Men's Basketball team practices in Gentile Arena on October 21, 2020. Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, the start of the basketball regular season for the Missouri Valley Conference has been delayed until the end of December. (Photo: Lukas Keapproth)

By: Max Hanzlik (Loyola Senior)

Last year Loyola’s men’s basketball team (eight seed) did the unthinkable by knocking out the University of Illinois (one seed) in the NCAA playoffs. Their season came to an unfortunate end when they were defeated by Oregon State (12 seed) in the Sweet Sixteen. This playoff run followed their amazing performance back in 2018 when they made it to the Final Four. 

However, this year might be a bit different. After losing some seniors and head coach Porter Moser, there is a lot of rebuilding to do. Will this stop the Ramblers from making another great run in the postseason or will they go all the way?

The biggest loss for Loyola this year was Cameron Krutwig. Krutwig led the team in points last season averaging 15 points per game. He also led the team in rebounds with 7 rebounds a game. 

Still, students seem confident in this year’s team. 

Collin Casey, a Loyola Senior, believes that even after getting a new coach this team still has a chance this year.

He said, “I guess it depends on the new coaching staff. I know they have a new coach this year since Moser left but I think we still have a chance depending on how good our coaching staff is because we don’t have the players like we did last year. It’s definitely going to be a rebuilding year, but you never know.”

Connor Olds, a Loyola Sophomore, said, “I feel like it depends like every year. A lot of these players are relatively new, and we don’t know their full potential. You never know, we can have a chance this year, but we could also spend the year rebuilding which isn’t bad either.”

With four new freshmen all looking for a starting spot on the team it seems that this might be a year for rebuilding.

Loyola Sophomore, Ben Goretzke, said, “You know, particularly for college basketball, there’s always that X-factor element, I think it’s really hard to say how one team is going to do for a season. I think more importantly than anything is getting the new coach in and having the guys grind and work together and build chemistry.”

The new head coach, Drew Valentine, was the assistant coach under Moser. He knows the program very well and he knows the players.

Nathan Langhasuer, a Loyola Senior, has faith in the new coaching staff. He said, “I think we’ll make it at least. I think that we should still be able to win the conference. I think the new coach, Drew, offers a lot of what the players are looking for. It seems like they really rallied around him. He was Porter’s assistant coach, so he knows the program.”

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