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NCAA Bracket 2012: How Loyola Basketball Got To March Madness

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Mar 5, 2012; Springfield, MA, USA; Loyola reyhounds players celebrate a victory over the Fairfield Stags in the finals of the 2012 Metro Atlantic Conference Tournament at the Mass Mutual Center.  Mandatory Credit: Mark L. Baer-US PRESSWIRE
Mar 5, 2012; Springfield, MA, USA; Loyola reyhounds players celebrate a victory over the Fairfield Stags in the finals of the 2012 Metro Atlantic Conference Tournament at the Mass Mutual Center. Mandatory Credit: Mark L. Baer-US PRESSWIRE

Despite finishing 15-15 overall in 2010-11, including a 9-8 record in the conference and a first-round exit in the conference tournament, expectations were fairly high for the Loyola Greyhounds entering the 2011-12 season. According to the MAAC preseason coach's poll, the Greyhounds were ranked third behind Iona and Fairfield University.

Junior forward Erik Etherly led Loyola in scoring and rebounding this season, averaging 13.5 points per game on 53.1 percent shooting from the floor and pulling down 7.5 boards per game. Sophomore guard Dylon Cormier averaged 13.4 points per game and had a team-high 51 steals. Robert Olson is the Greyhounds' outside threat, hitting on 65-of-147 (44.2 percent) three-point attempts while averaging 11.2 points per game.

Loyola's 2011-12 season can be defined by lengthy winning streaks, including an eight-game streak from Nov. 14 to Dec. 10 and a seven-game streak from Jan. 19 to Feb. 10. The Greyhounds lost three of their last five games entering the MAAC Conference Tournament to finish the regular season with a 21-8 record. Loyola defeated Niagra and Siena in the first two rounds of the MAAC Conference Tournament before earning their first NCAA Tournament bid since 1994 with a 48-44 win over Fairfield in the MAAC Championship Game. As the No. 15 seed in the East, Loyola will face No. 2 Ohio State.

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