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2018 NCAA Tournament: The Battle of the Biddies

Sister Jean has been the biggest celebrity of the tournament so far but she has company now.

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Loyola v Tennessee
DALLAS, TX - MARCH 17: Sister Jean Dolores-Schmidt celebrates after the Loyola Ramblers beat the Tennessee Volunteers 63-62 in the second round of the 2018 NCAA Tournament at the American Airlines Center on March 17, 2018 in Dallas, Texas.
Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images

Great - now we have two little old ladies going on about the Final Four.

First there was the wonderful story about Loyola’s Sister Jean, a genuinely inspirational woman. At 98, she still is the team chaplain and leads them in prayer. She’s spunky too. On one occasion she asked the opposing coach if he wanted her to fill out his lineup - and he let her. So she did four, handed it back and said “fifth’s on you.”

You have to love a 98-year-old smack talking nun (by the way, with her permission, Loyola has licensed her likeness and 5,000 bobblehead dolls have already been ordered with all proceeds going to the school).

And in the other corner we have...Jalen Rose’s grandmother, 100-year-old Mary Belle Hicks, who has a few words for Sister Jean, telling her “Jean, it’s been a good ride, but it’s over Saturday. Go Blue! 100.”

She’s tossing her age in to one-up a 98-year old. You can only do that if you’re 100. If you’re 85 and start talking smack about a 98 year old woman you’re a bully.

As far as we go, our preference in the Final Four descends like this:

  1. Loyola
  2. Villanova
  3. Kansas
  4. Michigan

Michigan is partly because of Ms. Hick’s grandson. We saw a bit of “I Hate Christian Laettner” Monday night and caught a bit of why Rose and co. hated Duke and especially Laettner.

It was understandable from their point of view but they were (and in some cases still are) shortsighted and never figured out why they couldn’t beat Duke, with or without Laettner, in three tries.

After Duke beat Michigan in 1992’s title game, by 20, the teams played again in Cameron in the fall.

Michigan’s kids went on about how Duke “stole our championship” which was ludicrous. It was never theirs in the first place.

Ooops. Duke smacked the for the third time, winning 79-68.

The Fab Five went on to lose to UNC in the 1993 finals when Chris Webber famously called a non-existent timeout.

We completely understand why Ms. Hicks is pulling for Michigan and despite the Duke-Fab Five thing, Rose has lived a compelling life in many ways. He’s an intelligent and engaging man. When you read about his never-happened relationship with his father, Providence legend and former NBA great Jimmy Walker, it’s heart breaking.

We should all remind ourselves from time to time that people who entertain us are, in the end, just as human as anyone else. We don’t think much of the Fab Five but, aside from Chris Webber, they mostly grew up. Rose is a good man and the Fab Five was a long time ago now.

But we’re still pulling for Loyola.

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