Even given the recent economic downturn, most of us either have day jobs or things to occupy us during the waking hours; family, friends, other personal pursuits. And that's all well and good for most of the year.
But not this week. Nay, this week I ask that you do as I have done, forego any kind of social and economic opportunities, and instead focus all of your attention into hating the University of Loyola with every sinew and fiber of your being. No, not that Loyola. Or that one. Or the other one. And I don't even think this one is NCAA tourney eligible.
YES. This Loyola University. This Loyola shall be the target for our scorn for the next several days, as we dissect what exactly makes this threat to Ohio State basketball dominance tick, what je ne sais quoi they have that has led them on the path to prodigious 15th seedom. Make no mistake, the Greyhounds (???) of Loyola Maryland pose the clearest threat to Thad Matta and company, and though we here at 11W will still do our due diligence with regard to their actual basketball playing abilities, we'd be remiss if we also didn't provide you with a through background of who and what Loyola men's basketball is and are.
After all, should this plucky team from Maryland accomplish the impossible and pull off the upset, would you really want to be left in the dark about their defunct football team and fight song, "Howl for the Hounds," which was written by two apparently annoying and somewhat dim undergrads for 500 bucks (download available here in .wav format)? I think not.
Steel yourself, Ohio State fans. Because Loyola fans will scream and scream. Till they are grey and green. And they will howl howl howl for the 'hounds.
Loyola itself is a medium sized university in Baltimore that was founded in the early 1850s by hungry Jesuits who intended to cross the country who got sidetracked in their missionary work by oysters and crab legs, and to commemorate that sweet occasion the university has two separate alumni events where people stuff themselves silly on ocean creatures, much as their forefathers did.
Loyola counts many famous people in its alumni rolls: Tom Clancy is one, retired Columbus Crew player Christof Lindenmayer is another, and they also claim Michael Phelps even though as far as I can tell the real extent of his involvement with the university was telling a kid to kick his legs harder once or twice. More importantly, McNulty (the fictional character) from The Wire went to Loyola, which is instant street cred among nerds/cool people.
And Loyola can afford to spend that street cred; only 55% of applicants actually get in the university, but considering tuition is a hilarious 41,000 American dollars, maybe the other 45% will be able to console themselves by attending a much higher rated school that won't land them in debtors' prision or wherever rich people go when they can't pay their college loans (Vegas).
It isn't all Hunts for Red Octobers and clambakes, however. Loyola does have one significant sports rivalry, and that's in lacrosse against nearby Johns Hopkins University. Loyola takes it's lacrosse seriously; 16 former players played in Major League Lacrosse, which in fact is A Thing because I just looked it up. The unofficial name for this rivalry is "The Charles Street Massacre;" "Charles Street" because both schools are located adjacent to Charles Street in Baltimore, and "Massacre" because the Greyhounds lost this matchup 31 times in a row.
In more entertaining sport news, the basketball program at Loyola Maryland is something of an enigma. Skip Prosser coached the team to semi-prominence in 1993-4, taking them to their only other NCAA tourney bid before leaving for Xavier, a school that has a much larger talent pool to choose from and also does not charge its students forty one freaking thousand dollars to attend. The late Skip Prosser, you'll remember, was Thad Matta's predecessor at Xavier, and now my obligatory OSU tie-in is complete.
Currently the Loyola men's basketball team is coached by alumnus Jimmy Patsos, and as DJ pointed out to me in an e-mail, seems like a "don dada."
Patsos is actually a pretty decent coach overall; he took a basement dwelling program and made it into at least a semi-winner, and even making the NCAA tourney is a gigantic accomplishment for his program. He is also a complete crazy person; his solution to the Stephen Curry problem when Loyola played Davidson in 2008 was to do this:
Patsos kept two men on Curry for the entire game, and Davidson of course countered by simply putting Curry down in a corner of the floor, and letting their other players take on Loyola 4-on-3. Davidson on the power play! Final: Davidson 78, Loyola 48. Greyhound fans were not amused.
So of course I am praying that Patsos does something similar against Sullinger. Patsos' response to the heat he took for this was essentially to shrug his shoulders and say "yeah but we held him scoreless can anybody else say they did that NO" which admittedly is a very good argument if you're a dumb guy or looking to get fired (Patsos was given a contract extension before that season).
Patsos also has something of an OSU connection; he was a longtime assistant to Mr. Gary Williams, OSU basketball coach from 1986-89, but better known as Maryland's head coach from 1989-2011, winning a national championship in 2002. None of which will stop Loyola from getting totally stomped.
In any event, use this information wisely. Greyhound spies and infiltrators are everywhere, and until William Buford inevitably drops 40 on them, it's important to keep in mind that the noble greyhound, which cannot survive in cold weather without a demeaning sweater, will always howl for victory. Stay on your toes, Buckeye fans.