Nevada Faces Loyola Chicago Thursday in Sweet 16 in Atlanta

March Madness 2018: Fans can't get enough of Loyola Chicago's Sister Jean

The first time Clayton Custer encountered Sister Jean Dolores-Schmidt, it was during a team prayer. We said we were going into this game with great confidence and that we wanted to win this game so badly. Before the Ramblers ran out of the tunnel for the game, they huddled around Sister Jean. "In the middle of her prayer there's a scouting report mixed in". "And then at the end when the buzzer rang, we wanted to be sure the score said we had the big 'W'". She's a fan at heart.

While fan is one way to describe her, it's only one part of what she does.

The Illinois coach drew some applause from his fellow panelists after being introduced on Turner Sports' tip-off show.

And she'll enjoy the Ramblers' ride.

"It's honestly so insane, because Loyola is a smaller school".

"It's incredible", Ingram said. "He makes it like a 98 percent clip". She has so much knowledge, she has so much wisdom.

Said Townes: "I think that's one of our competitive advantages". "We've had many games in the conference tournament. She's just a blessing", Ramblers coach Porter Moser said.

"That's a tribute to the way they play - they play super hard".

If there is anyone that might be able to top their story in this NCAA Tournament, it's their opponent in the Sweet 16.

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When Loyola-Chicago takes on No. 3 seed Miami at 3:10 p.m. ET on Thursday, Sister Jean will be hoping her Ramblers can pull out the upset.

She reiterated that message on the sidelines during a postgame interview with truTV.

Since that moment, Sister Jean has been busier than usual. After Ingram's victor, former President Barack Obama tweeted congratulations to the team - and its well-known nun.

On Friday, less than 24 hours after the Ramblers' thrilling victory, she fielded one interview after another at the team hotel. "She's a huge part of our success".

In 1961, Sister Jean took a teaching job at Mundelein College, the women's college that prepared its students to teach, which was located next to Loyola in Chicago's Rogers Park neighborhood. The New York Times profiled her earlier this week.

"Where I was for rehab, I couldn't get the picture so I watched play-by-play for every game I missed", she said with her usual smile. "That's fine with me". "I talk about the game to them and then they go out and play".

For the Ramblers, the nation is just now discovering what the team and university have long known. "It's just brought so many happy memories to me, and I'm really happy to be saying good morning to all of America today". She broke her hip in late 2017 and now uses a wheelchair. Sister Jean was cheered as loudly as any player when coming off the bus. "Oh, thank God, thank God we did it, because we knew we would do it", replied Sister Jean.

Her passion for the school is unrivaled. And that's her office, too. Loyola forward Donte Ingram and center Cameron Krutwig are going to need to make a big impact down low in order for Loyola to have a chance to win.

The NCAA Tournament has always been about more than just basketball.

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