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Clutch Game Has Loyola On Improbable Path to Title

On March 26, 2018, in Sporting News, by Bud Thornton

loyola-chicago-ramblers-2018The Loyola Ramblers have been on an improbable run to the Final Four, starting out as an 11th seed and beating four opponents, all ranked above them.

After beating Kansas State 78-62 to become only the fourth 11th seed to make the Final Four, it’s worth considering that perhaps it was the tournament organizers who screwed up their work by seeding Loyola too low.

Keep in mind that this was a team that went 31-5, won the Missouri Valley Conference, was 12th in the nation in defensive rating and had, Clayton Custer, the MVC player of the year, on their team.

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umbc win against virginiaWhen the mighty Virginia Cavaliers, the overall No. 1 seed in the NCAA tournament, entered the Spectrum Center in North Carolina, they were expected to continue the long line of first-seeded teams never to lose a first-round game. Instead, they lost 74-54 in stunning fashion to the UMBC Retrievers, a team that a lot of college basketball fans had never heard of.

Virginia was the not only the number one team in the country but also the number 1 seed in the South Regional bracket. They were highly regarded as the favorite pick to make not only the Final Four but to win the NCAA tournament.

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lonzo ball los angeles lakersLos Angeles Lakers point guard Lonzo Ball has seemingly turned around his long-range shooting this season as he’s gone from shooting bricks to pure money from three-point land.

He’s becoming a clutch three-point killer in his rookie season after struggling early and getting a lot of criticisms for his all-around poor shooting.

Although he won’t start hitting fade-away threes like Kobe anytime soon, Lonzo has been sinking a lot of threes lately, which is remarkable considering that at one point in the season he was shooting less than 30 percent from three-point range.

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Wildcats Top Cal To Win Outright Pac-12 Title

On March 5, 2018, in Sporting News, by Bud Thornton

deandre_ayton_wildcatsIt all came down to the last minutes of regulation, but the Arizona Wildcats were finally able to put away the California Golden Bears 66-54 to clinch the outright PAC-12 championship.

A great duel of freshmen took place in the desert as DeAndre Ayton and Justice Sueing were featured early and often in the game.

Sueing capped the regular season of his debut campaign with 17 points and five rebounds, leading the way for the Cal Golden Bears.

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Calvin Ridley’s NFL Draft Outlook

On February 26, 2018, in Sporting News, by Bud Thornton

calvin ridley crimson tideSome NFL scouts may say that the 2018 NFL draft is weak at wide receiver and that there are no wide receivers worth a high first-round pick, but Alabama’s Calvin Ridley has the talent and skills to prove them wrong.

It’s often difficult to project whether or not certain skills sets or traits will translate to the NFL, but when it comes to Ridley there’s little doubt.

He has a 40-yard dash speed of 4.35 seconds and the first thing that jumps out when watching his college tapes is that he is a phenomenal route runner that uses his footwork to get defenders off balance and create separation at any level.

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