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Sister Jean gave Loyola a scouting report disguised as prayer before upset of Illinois

Jason Owens
·2-min read

Sister Jean is here for the W's.

College basketball's most beloved fan is back in the spotlight with the return of the NCAA men's tournament. And she's advanced to the Sweet 16 for the second time in four years with Loyola Chicago's upset of No. 1 seed Illinois on Sunday.

The 101-year-old nun and Loyola team chaplain became a star during the Ramblers' 2018 run to the Final Four. After initially being barred by NCAA from this year's tournament because of COVID-19 restrictions, she got the green light to join Loyola in Indianapolis thanks to being vaccinated — and some lobbying.

INDIANAPOLIS, INDIANA - MARCH 21: Sister Jean celebrates the Loyola-Chicago Ramblers win over the Illinois Fighting Illini in the NCAA Basketball Tournament second round at Bankers Life Fieldhouse on March 21, 2021 in Indianapolis, Indiana. (Photo by Justin Casterline/Getty Images)
Sister Jean is headed to the Sweet 16. (Justin Casterline/Getty Images)

Sister Jean was not happy to see Illinois in 2nd round

She's making the most of her time there. Sister Jean wasn't happy to see Loyola set up for a second-round matchup again Big Ten power Illinois when the bracket was released.

"It amazes me that they put two Illinois schools together to go against each other rather than support each other," she told reporters on Tuesday.

But that didn't mean she didn't like the Ramblers' chances.

Sister Jean picked Loyola to advance past Illinois and eventually into the Elite Eight in her bracket. And she provided some inspirational words to the team prior to Sunday's win with a pregame prayer.

Or was it a scouting report?

'We have a great opportunity to convert rebounds ...'

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"We hope to score early and make our opponents nervous," Sister Jean said in the prayer, per CBS. "We have a great opportunity to convert rebounds as this team makes about 50% of layups and 30% of its 3-pointers.

"Our defense can take care of that."

How did Sister Jean's analysis play out?

Let's check the box score to see how Sister Jean's analysis worked out.

Loyola scored first. In fact, it jumped out to a 19-9 lead and never once trailed in the 71-58 victory. It's fair to presume that some on the Illinois sideline were indeed nervous.

Loyola won the rebounding battle, 30-27. Loyola limited Illinois to 4-of-14 (28.6%) shooting from 3-point distance and 44.9% shooting from the field.

It all adds up to some solid analysis from Sister Jean.

Up next for Sister Jean — and the Ramblers — is the winner of Sunday night's game between Oregon State and Oklahoma State. She'll have a few days to research that matchup before next weekend's Sweet 16.

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