After the thrill of success comes the agony of having to do it again. In Loyola of Maryland’s case, their foray into the 2012 NCAA tournament — their first in nearly two decades — won’t be easy. They’re slated to play Ohio State in Pittsburgh on Thursday. The Buckeyes are a 2 seed; Loyola is 15. According to the logic of seeding, they don’t stand a chance. But I can’t help but be hopeful, especially when I remember how people were talking in my hometown of Richmond, Virginia last year.
Back then, another small, obscure mid-Atlantic school with a charismatic coach and low expectations from the wider world made the tournament as a wild card pick. Then Virginia Commonwealth University went on to power through all the way to the Final Four. Their improbable success galvanized Richmond, and is still celebrated on billboards all over town. Here are a few lessons the Greyhounds could take from the Rams: