Kansas State Basketball: Loyola speed, Sister Jean end Wildcats dream season

The Kansas State basketball dream season came to a screeching halt at the hands of the Loyola-Chicago Ramblers and the everpresent Sister Jean.

The wild NCAA Tournament ride has finally ended, and the shorthanded No. 9 seed Kansas State basketball team didn’t have enough tread left on the tires to keep up with the No. 11 seed Loyola-Chicago Ramblers, ending in an South Region Elite Eight defeat inside Atlanta’s Philips Arena.

The game got ugly in a hurry, with the Ramblers running off to a 15-5 lead early in the game, and they never looked back from that point on.

Despite some typically strong defense from the Wildcats, Sister Jean’s boys kept the pressure on, while it seemed nothing was falling for the Cats. Every time the Wildcats came up with a stop or steal, the ball would seemingly end up being kicked or mishandled, leaving Kansas State with nothing to show for the good work.

Without leading scorer Dean Wade, the Wildcats were simply outgunned by the speedy and adept Loyola team, who leaned on senior guard Ben Richardson – 23 points, 4 assists, 6 rebounds – to snuff out any hope of a comeback by the Cats.

Kansas State was led by Xavier Sneed, who fought hard for his 16 points and six rebounds.

The Wildcats have nothing to hang their heads about, and coach Bruce Weber should be proud of his team for making it to the first Elite Eight appearance since 2010.

This wasn’t necessarily a case of Kansas State playing bad basketball, but Loyola was just that much better in every facet of the game. The Wildcats had no answer for their team speed, especially along the baseline where the Ramblers flourished all night.

It looked as though the Wildcats were playing at half-speed from two nights ago when they took down mighty Kentucky, and a lot of credit has to go to Loyola’s defensive effort.

Sister Jean…we salute you!

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A dream season may have ended in the Elite Eight tonight, but the Wildcats will certainly have more opportunities to fight their way to a Final Four and beyond in coming seasons.