Was Loyola Chicago’s upset over Illinois the product of massive seeding error?
Judging by the seedings, Loyola Chicago’s win over Illinois in the second round of the NCAA Tournament on Sunday was a big upset. The Ramblers were the No. 8 seed in the Midwest Region and defeated the No. 1 Illinis 71-58. But those who followed the college basketball season closely probably were not as surprised by the outcome as many others.
Why is that? There is a belief that Loyola Chicago was massively underseeded.
Loyola Chicago entered the NCAA Tournament 24-4. They were the No. 9 team overall in Ken Pom’s rankings. That implied they were more worthy of a No. 3 seed in the NCAA Tournament. Instead, they were seeded eighth, as if they were around the 30th-best team in the country.
The metrics suggested that Loyola Chicago and Illinois were nearly evenly matched despite the vast disparity in their seedings. The game between them probably should not have taken place until the Sweet 16, or even the Elite Eight. But it took place in the second round and looks like a much bigger upset than it really was.
As they showed us in 2018, Loyola Chicago is legit. You can thank “Officer Farva” for that. And Illinois had a very good team get bounced early on as a result.