Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Loyola's 20th Win Creates Program History

Time, once again, to recognize what a strong season this has been for the Loyola men's basketball team.

When the Greyhounds defeated a decent Boston University team in a BracketBusters series contest on Sunday, they improved their overall record to 20-7.

How significant is that?

Within the context of the season, it snapped a two-game losing streak and got the team back on the positive track with the start of the MAAC's post-season tournament slightly more than a week away.

Within the context of the Loyola program, it's historical.

The 20th victory established a school Division I record for victories in a season, since the program moved to that level in 1981. The previous best came from 19-win seasons in 2006-07 and 2007-08.

It's no shock that all three of the program's season's best totals for victories have come during the era of coach Jimmy Patsos, as colorful a sideline character as there is in the conference and, quite possibly, one of the best overall coaches in the conference, too.

The only other Loyola teams with more than 20 victories were coached by Emil "Lefty" Reitz (for whom the school's basketball facility is named), who had 20 or more from 1945-46 through 1948-49. The 1948-49 team is the school's all-time winner with 25.

"Twenty wins means a lot to this program to this school," Patsos was quoted, by the school's sports information department, as saying after the game. "It is something that hadn't been accomplished before in Division I history, and it was a goal ... one of many."

Loyola will almost certainly add to its current victory total and, potentially, approach the program's all-time single-season best of 25 victories.

The Greyhounds have regular-season games remaining Friday at Rider (in an ESPN2 nationally televised contest), and at Manhattan on Sunday.

After that, Loyola could play as many as three games in the league's post-season tournament, provided it advances to the event's championship game. And, as a 20-plus victory program the likelihood is that there's a national post-season tournament in the team's future too, whether it's the NCAA event or a lesser tournament.

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