History will be made when Kansas State, Loyola-Chicago square off
| 1 month ago

History will be made when Kansas State and Loyola-Chicago tip off their Elite 8 game on Saturday. For the first time in NCAA Tournament history, a No. 9 seed will face a No. 11 seed for a spot in the Final Four.

While the fan bases are caught up in the moment, nobody from either team is allowing outside distractions into the picture.

"I emphasized to these guys they've really got to kind of block out everything that's going on around them and really focus on preparing for Loyola," Kansas State coach Bruce Weber said. "We can't worry about what happened yesterday, can't worry about next week. We've got to take care of business right now."

Coach Porter Moser of Loyola-Chicago (31-5) concurred.

"When we got into the tournament, we didn't want to just be here," he said. "It's just kind of the way they are. Trust me, they're bouncing around like little kids. They're so excited. But they just have this edge to them that they believe and they want more, they want more. They enjoy the moment."

These two programs have some connection. Two of Loyola's stars are from the heart of the recruiting territory for Kansas State. Clayton Custer and Ben Richardson both attended Blue Valley Northwest High School in the Kansas City suburbs. They have a lot of friends who attend Kansas State.

"Me and Ben both know a lot of people from our high school that go to K-State," Custer said. "We have a lot of friends that go there, people who we were really close with in high school. Yeah, we've definitely gotten some texts and calls from people who go to K-State for sure.

"I think they're kind of pulling for us, just because of our relationship. At least I hope they are. They might be saying that to my face. I don't know if they actually believe it or not. But yeah, it's all good natured."

Richardson said he's received a lot of texts as well.

"You know, I got a couple that were like, cheering for you to win this game, but if K-State wins, then I don't know if I can pull for you, joking around," Richardson said. "But it's all in good nature. We get a lot of good support from back home, and it's been really good to see all the people reaching out to us."

Weber knows that there are some connections, but he's more worried about the skills of the Loyola players than he is where they're from.

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