March Madness 2012: Previewing the 8 Jesuit Colleges in the NCAA Tournament
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Magis means “the more,” and for each one of the eight Jesuit schools that have reached the NCAA tournament, it will be vying for one more game of life each time it takes the court. From this point on, it’s all about one more.
This slideshow will break down each of the Jesuit institutions and their odds of making a run for the national title. All of that of course happening “for the greater glory of God.” (ad majorem Dei gloriam)
Little-known fact: St. Ignatius of Loyola, founder of the Jesuits, was a big college hoops fan and would distribute brackets to the less fortunate back in the day.
No. 15: Loyola University (Maryland)
Loyola clinched a NCAA tournament bid after defeating Fairfield in the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference title game last week. The Greyhounds won 24 games this season on the road to their second tournament appearance.
The Greyhounds are seeded 15th and will face Ohio State in the first round. A lot of prayers to St. Ignatius will be in order if they even want to think of making the next round.
Prediction: Loss to Ohio State in the first round.
No. 15: University of Detroit-Mercy
The Titans have big shoes to fill as the winners of the Horizon League Championship with the success that Butler has shown the last two years. Coach Brad Stevens led the Bulldogs to championship appearances against Duke and Connecticut and came up short both times.
Stevens tweeted about the strength that Detroit is showing heading into the tournament. As much of a genius that Stevens is, this was before the Detroit was slated to play Kansas in the first round.
The Jayhawks are being tabbed as national champions in a lot of brackets after being seeded second. Detroit will sadly fall to a team that is out for blood early on.
Prediction: Loss to Kansas in the first round.
No. 10: Xavier University
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Xavier drew a No. 10 seed and will face No. 7 Notre Dame in the first round of the NCAA tournament in Greensboro, North Carolina. Last season, the Musketeers faced Marquette in the first round and headed home earlier than expected.
Chances are that if the Musketeers defeat the Fighting Irish, they will go on to face the Duke Blue Devils. If they expect to put on a better performance than last year’s loss to Marquette, everything has to go right for them.
Prediction: Loss to Notre Dame in the first round.
No. 9: St. Louis University
St. Louis University is tabbed as a No. 9 seed and will head to Columbus, Ohio, to play the 2012 C-USA champions in Memphis. This is the first time that the Billikens are dancing since 2000 and the first time with Rick Majerus as their coach.
If they move on, they will most likely face No. 1 seed Michigan State. Billiken fans should savor their appearance, because it may not last too long.
Prediction: Loss to Memphis in the first round.
No. 8: Creighton University
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The Bluejays won their conference tournament and just drew a No. 8 seed after defeating eight top-100 teams. They have the potential to defeat Alabama in the very first round, but possibly facing UNC in the second round will be tough.
They could give the Tar Heels a run for their money and a good game, but the depth of Roy Williams’ team will be too much to overcome.
Creighton should have been seeded sixth considering it defeated No. 6 San Diego State on the road.
Prediction: Win against Alabama. Loss to UNC.
No. 7: Gonzaga University
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This team is no stranger to the NCAA tournament for the last decade and it will continue their streak of appearances as a No. 7 seed in the East Region.
Freshman guard Kevin Pangos is a very well-rounded player for a team that went 25-6 this season. The Zags lost to teams like BYU and St. Mary’s on the road, but that was expected of them as underdogs.
Their first opponent is 10th-ranked West Virginia. The Mountaineers really struggled in conference play and their best player, Kevin Jones, lost his groove toward the end of the season.
If the Zags can expose the weak team that the Mountaineers were with a struggling Jones, they will move on to the next round. If they go on to play Ohio State, sadly their road will end there.
Prediction: Win against West Virginia. Loss to Ohio State.
No. 3: Georgetown University
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These Hoyas may be the most over-ranked team in the NCAA tournament after a fourth-place finish in the Big East.
They face Belmont in the first round. Belmont is favored to be the team to watch for an upset in the tournament, and John Thompson’s squad could pay the price early on. If they can avoid that hurdle, they could make a run to the Sweet 16.
Prediction: If they can defeat Belmont, they can go to the Sweet 16. Kansas will be too much for them and they will lose to them in the round of 16.
No. 3: Marquette University
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The No. 3 is something that is revered by Marquette fans as it is Dwyane Wade’s old jersey number and the last time they were seeded No. 3, the Warriors made it to the Final Four in 2003.
The hopes are high for a repeat performance as they are seeded behind Michigan State and Missouri. Everyone likes to root for the underdog and in the regular season, and Marquette was that underdog a lot.
Now they will have to dispose of BYU or Iona and then possibly Murray State, before they face off against a team like Missouri or Florida in the Elite Eight. This was a good draw for them, and Final Four seems very likely.
Prediction: Marquette will fight hard against Missouri in the Sweet 16 to advance. If Louisville can dispose of Michigan State, Marquette has seen enough of the Cardinals to come away with another banner to put up in the Bradley Center.