Some NCAA tournaments fail to live up to the hype, disappointing fans with chalk brackets and blowout wins on the first weekend. Other times, we’re treated to a barrage of thrillers, upsets and hardwood hysteria that get the country buzzing about basketball.
This is one of those times.
In an opening weekend jam-packed with stories, 11th-seeded Loyola Chicago is one of the stars after pulling off a second straight upset in a thriller over No. 3 seed Tennessee on Saturday to advance to the Sweet Sixteen.
It helps that the Ramblers have their own featured player in Sister Jean Dolores Schmidt, Loyola Chicago’s 98-year-old team chaplain and super scout.
And her joy, caught on camera juxtaposed next to the sadness of a young Tennessee fan perfectly summed up the emotions of March that take over when a team’s season is either stifled or salvaged on a last-second bounce of a ball.
Now while it looks like Sister Jean is taking joy in the crushing disappointment of a young girl, that’s clearly not the case. It’s just some unfortunate (or fortunate, really) camerawork and studio engineering from the TNT crew covering the game.
Sister Jean has proven herself a thoughtful and sweet lady in multiple TV and internet appearances as her star has risen the last couple of days, and laughing at little girls is clearly not her M.O.
Sister Jean also developed a bit of a made-for-TV rivalry during the game coverage with Turner broadcaster and former Lady Vols great Candace Parker, who was caught on camera intently watching the game’s dramatics play out.
"The agony of defeat… live."
— March Madness TV (@MarchMadnessTV) March 18, 2018
The internet, being the internet and having fallen in love with Sister Jean, was not so kind to Parker in her moment of defeat.
#11 Loyola Chicago @RamblersMBB upsets #3 Tennessee! @Candace_Parker owes Sister Jean an apology! Somebody mail her a Ramblers jersey to wear in studio! #MarchMadness @marchmadness pic.twitter.com/SRV4dGWtbM
— Rosalyn Gold-Onwude (@ROSGO21) March 18, 2018
But Sister Jean, being Sister Jean, was eloquent and gracious in victory when Parker asked for her forgiveness for picking against Loyola Chicago in a message relayed in a postgame interview on TNT.
“I certainly do, because if you were not loyal to your alma mater, that would be trouble for you and for your school, especially when you’re so popular and have made a name for yourself,” Sister Jean said of forgiving Parker. “Now you can root for us that we go as far as we possibly can.”
Fortunately for Loyola Chicago and NCAA fans who haven’t yet fallen victim to the Ramblers, Sister Jean will move on next week to the Sweet Sixteen.
More NCAA tournament coverage from Yahoo Sports:
• Star player on his coach: ‘We’re not the same color, but he’s definitely my father’
• Did you bet UMBC? If so, congrats, you’re rich
• Report: Heckling pushes Duke star’s mom to tears
• Auburn uses cheap trick to fool refs, seal NCAA win
Sister Jean Dolores Schmidt and Loyola-Chicago have advanced to the Sweet 16. (AP)