Loyola Chicago's run to the Final Four has been one of the most unexpected NCAA tournament developments in years. When the field was announced, few actually believed the Ramblers would emerge from the South Region and head to San Antonio.
But exactly how many is "few"?
In this year's Bracket Challenge Game, out of the millions of brackets submitted, the Ramblers were chosen just 5,532 times, good for the 12th-most-popular pick in their region — nearly fitting, considering Loyola Chicago is an 11-seed. Seems like some people underrated the Ramblers.
Interestingly enough, Kansas State — the Ramblers' Elite Eight opponent Saturday night, and a 9-seed — was the ninth-most-popular Final Four pick from the South, clocking in at 9,391 selections.
The most popular selection from the South? Overall 1-seed Virginia, which... well, you know what happened there.
Sorry, Cavaliers fans.The least-popular pick to emerge from the South region was 14-seed Wright State, which faced 3-seed Tennessee in the first round. Wright garnered just 1,695 brave votes, a fair mark considering they were felled by the Volunteers in the first round. But Loyola Chicago scored one for the underdogs when it toppled Tennessee in the next round, despite nearly 86,000 more brackets choosing Tennessee to win the South region and advance to the Final Four.
Picking a bracket is always an imperfect science, but this year Loyola Chicago and the South Region turned it into a fool's errand — except for 5,532 brilliant minds.