Either way, the first Final Four team of 2018 is going to be a surprising one. After each pulling off upsets in the Sweet 16, ninth-seeded Kansas State and No. 11 Loyola-Chicago will battle it out for a trip to San Antonio on Saturday. A win for the Wildcats would make them just the second 9-seed to make the Final Four (and second from the state of Kansas–Wichita State did it in 2013), while the Ramblers could join LSU (1986), George Mason (2006) and VCU (2011) as 11-seeds to advance to the national semifinals.
The game is scheduled to start at about 6:09 p.m. ET and will be broadcast nationally on TBS. If you don’t have cable or can’t get to a TV, you can watch the game, as well as other NCAA tournament games, live on your computer, phone or streaming device by signing up for one of the following cable-free, live-TV streaming services:
DirecTV Now: TBS is included in all of DirecTV Now’s four main channel packages. You can sign up for a free 7-day trial no matter what package you choose, and you can then watch the game live on your computer via the DirecTV Now website, or on your phone, tablet or streaming device via the DirecTV Now app.
Hulu With Live TV: In addition to their extensive Netflix-like streaming library, Hulu now also offers a bundle of live channels, including TBS. You can sign up for “Hulu with Live TV” right here, and you can then watch a live stream of the game on your computer via the Hulu website, or on your phone, tablet or streaming device via the Hulu app.
Sling TV: TBS is included in both the “Sling Blue” and “Sling Orange” channel packages. You can sign up for a free 7-day trial of either, and you can then watch the game live on your computer via the Sling TV website, or on your phone, tablet or streaming device via the Sling TV app.
Note: You can also watch any tournament game on your computer via the March Madness Live website, or on your phone, tablet or streaming device via the March Madness Live app. To watch these streams, you’ll have a free preview before needing to sign in to a TV provider to keep watching, but if you don’t have cable, you can do this by logging in with your Hulu credentials.
The odds have Kansas State as a very slight favorite, but Bruce Weber knows that his team can’t take the Ramblers for granted.
“I told the guys, you can’t look at the name (Loyola), and you can’t look at the league,” he said. “You’ve got to look at the team. They’re a good team. They beat Florida at Florida earlier in the year. They beat Tennessee, who won the SEC. They beat Miami out of the ACC. So they’ve got to be pretty good, and they’re hot. They play together. They’ve got some young guys that have really stepped up.”
Loyola has also had a knack for making big plays during clutch time. Against Miami, Donte Ingram buried a game-winning three-pointer from about 30 feet out. In the one-point win over Tennessee, it was junior point guard Clayton Custer who bounced in a jumper with five seconds remaining to put his team ahead. And against Nevada in the Sweet 16, Marques Townes drilled a three-pointer with six seconds left to put his team up by four and essentially seal the win.
For those counting at home, that’s three games, three shots in the last 10 seconds to win those three games, and a combined four-point margin of victory. Perhaps that’s what happens when you have a 98-year-old nun on your side.
If Loyal’s magical run is going to continue, though, Porter Moser’s team will have to solve Kansas State’s defense. Fueled by an athletic, rangy, four-guard lineup that has forced a whopping 45 turnovers through their first three tournament games, the Wildcats held an Uber-efficient Creighton offense to 0.89 points per possession in the opener, shut down UMBC in the second round, then limited Kentucky to their lowest point total (58) of the season.
“They like to get up-and-down, use their length and athleticism just to get easy run-outs and dunks and kind of make a lot of flashy plays,” K-State guard Barry Brown said about Kentucky. “But we knew with our principles and the things we learned since I’ve been here my freshman year, defensive-wise, that we could guard anyone, no matter the height differential or the weight and size.”
Efficient offense vs. smothering, mistake-forcing defense. Talented guardplay all over the place. Put it all together, and you have the makings for a fantastic matchup–no matter how low the seeds.
Source: Heavy Sports