Loyola vs. Kansas State: a 10-point primer to Final Four drought-busting matchup

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Childhood pals Clayton Custer and Ben Richardson are ready to roll. | Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

ATLANTA — A quick 10-point primer to get you good and lathered up for Saturday’s South Region final between No. 11 seed Loyola (31-5) and No. 9 Kansas State (25-11):

1. Club ‘Dub’: Not only does Loyola have a school-record 31 wins this season, but its current streak of 13 is tops in the country.

2. Really Pretty Irrelevant: The RPI rankings of these teams aren’t close; Loyola is 22nd, K-State 53rd. But the teams’ KenPom rankings in adjusted efficiency margin are much closer: 34th for the Ramblers and 36th for the Wildcats. Is it any wonder the spread is essentially a pick ’em?

3. So seedy: This is the highest seed total (20) for an Elite Eight game since the NCAA Tournament first was seeded in 1979. The previous record was 19 — No. 9 Penn vs. No. 10 St. John’s — in ’79. But you knew that already.

4. History, folks: It’s the first 9-vs.-11 game in tourney history, period, full stop. By the way, when and why did the expression “full stop” become popular again? I see it on Twitter 100 times a day and — let me tell you — do not approve. Full freaking stop.

5. Been a long lonely, lonely, lonely, lonely time: K-State’s last Final Four was 54 years ago (when Bruce Weber was seven). Loyola’s was 55 years ago (long before Porter Moser was born.)

6. Halfway home: Loyola is 22-0 when it leads at the half and 22-0 when it makes at least half its field-goal attempts. So there — if I may be so bold — is your game plan.

7. Bricklayers union: The Wildcats can’t shoot the three. Put another way, they rank 202nd nationally from deep. Loyola is 19th.

8. Watch your personal belongings: Loyola aims to stay under 10 turnovers a game, but the Wildcats are 11th in the nation in steals (287). They’re coming for that ball, dang it.

9. The other D-Wade: Dean Wade, K-State’s top scorer (16.2) and rebounder (6.2), will be limited by a foot injury. Junior guard Barry Brown and sophomore forward Xavier Sneed are the team’s best players right now. Brown is crafty as all get-out. Sneed can drop jaws with his athleticism.

10. Loyola 66, K-State 63: I don’t know what to tell you. It just came to me.

Follow me on Twitter @slgreenberg.

Email: sgreenberg@suntimes.com

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