FINAL FOUR: Michigan ends Loyola-Chicago's dream season in San Antonio

Loyola's help defense effectively prevented MI from getting the ball to him inside, so the Wolverines' offense consisted largely of shooting 3-pointers (they attempted 13), missing them (they made just two) and letting Wagner get the offensive rebound for the putback.

Loyola's recruits for next season are ranked as three-star players: 6-9 center Franklin Agunanne from La Lumiere in IN, 6-3 shooting guard Cooper Kaifes from Kansas and 6-2 point guard Isaiah Bujdoso from Washington. The Wildcats are pursuing a second national title in three seasons.

Mark Willard and Jim Jackson both expect Villanova-Michigan to be a great game, but Mark says he's disappointed that he won't see Loyola-Chicago in the title game. Loyola-Chicago played through its freshman center Krutwig early but replaced him at the stoppage with the smaller Aundre Jackson.

The Ramblers were down by as many as eight points early after missing eight of their first 10 shots.

Loyola had no answers for 6-foot-11 Moe Wagner and its offense, so smooth and efficient on the way to San Antonio, broke down in the second half and finished with 17 turnovers.

They flipped that switch to defeat the Ramblers.

Just 20 seconds into the half, Krutwig baited Wagner into an And-1 call underneath the basket leading Loyola to the game's first double-digit lead, 32-22. In all, Loyola turned the ball over 17 times, a Ramblers high for the NCAA Tournament.

It was a dream come true for Wagner, who had watched MI play in the championship game against Louisville when he was 15 and seen Beilein coach the Wolverines to within a couple baskets - and, more to the point, a couple of missed defensive rebounds - of the NCAA title.

"I just kept on pounding that vision", Moser said. "They capitalized on that run where we made six turnovers in a row". And it snowballed on us.

The Ramblers, meanwhile, tried only three such shots, so that it mattered little that they made none.

"They changed the perception of a program", Loyola Chicago Coach Porter Moser said.

MI shot 29 percent in the first half and a 57.1 percent in the second.

"If you put it like that, that's it's probably cool". "I mean, just this group is resilient".

The second half began as a mirror opposite to the previous half.

Wagner also went flying off the elevated court, chasing a loose ball, avoiding injury but taking out CBS commentator Bill Raftery's eye glasses. "And, yeah, it's just worked out that way". Adds quotes from Loyola and Michigan's Simmons. "I don't think it's an accident that we're here". They were that good.

Loyola Ramblers superfan Sister Jean Dolores-Schmidt has prime seats to watch her team play in the Final Four. Instead it will have to settle with being the lowest seed to reach the Final Four, tying the Ramblers with LSU (1986), George Mason (2006) and Virginia Commonwealth (2011).

Loyola's a team that's busted a lot of brackets, but lots of people still came out to cheer them on in their Final Four match up against the Michigan Wolverines Saturday night.

  • Angelo Rivera