Reporting Mark Viviano
BALTIMORE (WJZ) — Excitement on Loyola’s campus. Their men’s basketball team is gearing up for their first trip to the NCAA tournament in almost two decades.
Mark Viviano has more.
Loyola’s run to the NCAA Tournament is a Baltimore story: a Baltimore school—a core of players are from this city—and supporters that include big-time Baltimore businessmen like Kevin Blank of Under Armour and Ravens owner Steve Bisciotti. Getting ready to take on Ohio State, the Loyola Greyhounds embrace their status as underdogs.
They had a spirited practice to prepare for their first NCAA Tournament assignment in nearly two decades. Coach Jimmy Patsos and his Loyola Greyhounds face Ohio State Thursday night in Pittsburgh. Little Loyola knows they won’t be expected to beat the big boys from the Big 10 conference.
“Nine out of ten times, we’re going to probably lose this game but we have a chance,” Patsos said.
This group has adopted a Ravens mentality: tough on defense with a Baltimore core that includes RJ Williams from St. Frances, Dylon Cormier from Cardinal Gibbons and Jordan Latham from City College—all home-grown and happy to bring hometown pride to the national stage.
“Real excited. A lot of teams don’t get to go to the NCAA Tournament,” said Latham.
Other Baltimoreans on board include Rodney Elliot, the former Dunbar star and Maryland Terp. The Hounds are feeling the love all the way from Orioles spring training.
“I’m Adam Jones from the Baltimore Orioles and I want to wish the Loyola Greyhounds a great opportunity in the tournament. Unleash the hounds,” said Jones.
Jessica Kartalija spoke with players and students.
Loyola Greyhounds are headed to the big dance. The talk around campus is all about Thursday’s game.
“Everyone has been congratulating us and telling us how good of a season we’ve had, but for us, the season isn’t over with yet. We are practicing hard and looking forward to Thursday night,” said Erik Etherly.
Practice is intense as the 15th seeded Greyhounds prepare to take on Number 2 Ohio State in Pittsburgh.
“I like Thursday at 9:50 because we will be on at every bar across the country and that’s good. It’s good exposure,” said Coach Jimmy Patsos.
“Hopefully it’s going to be like a lot of our home games with all that support and it will make us feel right at home, make us feel comfortable,” said point guard Dylon Cormier.
One hundred students from Loyola will also be joining the team for the road trip to Pittsburgh.
“I think that it’s going to be insane. I think that it will be a bus full of pumped-up kids at Loyola,” said Joyce Arias.
“Just the opportunity to play a big school that’s so well known is so exciting,” said Jen Burt.
“I am super excited for the guys. I know that they worked so hard for this. It’s so exciting to see school spirit at Loyola. It’s very exciting,” said Rachel Abadilla.
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