Seventeen years is a long time to wait. So it’s a good thing that last night, Loyola University (of Maryland, natch) won a basketball game that just happened to be kind of important. After beating Fairfield 48-44, Loyola clinched the Mid-Atlantic Athletic Conference (MAAC) title, earing them a spot in the 2012 NCAA tournament for the first time since Bill Clinton was president.
This is fresh territory for the Greyhounds, who have only made it to the conference finals once before, back in 1994. Since then, times got tougher. In 2003-4, the team won one game (yes, one) and lost twenty-seven, giving it the worst record in all of college basketball. But this year has been different in a lot of ways, most of them very good. Consider that if the Greyhounds win just one more game, they’ll tie the school’s record for victories in a single season… which was set back in 1948-49!
Of course, those victories become harder-won in the NCAA tournament. But head coach Jimmy Patsos believes in his team. And recent years have seen surprising upsets by smaller, lesser-known teams. Why not put them all the way in your office bracket?
Watch a video of the team celebrating here.