Loyola Celebrates First NCAA Tournament Appearance in 33 Years

For the first time in decades, the Loyola Ramblers are going to the big dance.

The basketball team earned its spot in the NCAA tournament after beating Illinois State University to win the Missouri Valley Conference championship game.

The Ramblers haven't won the national championship since 1963 and the last time they made an appearance in the tournament was in 1985.

After being pushed to the limit in the quarters and semis, Loyola dominated Illinois State to capture a moment 33 years in the making.

Loyola never trailed and led by as many as 20 points in the second half, capturing the win in St. Louis under huge stress.

Despite an outstanding season - winning 10 straight games and 17 of their last 18, Loyola knew they'd likely be left out of March Madness unless they won the Valley tournament.

"This is for Chicago, this is for this program, the university, the coaching staff, everybody deserves it," senior guard Donte Igram said, after scoring 18 points and nabbing eight rebounds in Sunday's game.

"You know, it's been a drought for a long time but we here, we going," he added.

"It's unbelievable, man," junior Clayton Custer added. "I don't even know if it's really hit me fully yet, its just - this is so surreal right now, just looking around. It's just a dream coming true."

The dream continues, as the Ramblers now await their place in the bracket, which they'll find out in less than a week on selection Sunday.

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