Defense Could Be Key For Loyola

Rick Gregg
March 20, 2018 - 11:45 pm
Loyola Ramblers

Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports

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CHICAGO (WBBM NEWSRADIO) -- Eleven years ago, Bryan Mullins made his first Sweet Sixteen appearance.  Now a coach, he’s making his second with Loyola.

“It’s different,” the Rambler assistant said.  “I don’t think anything compares to, as a player.  As a coach, you’re happy for the guys, that they get to experience it. Because you were able to experience it, and you know how much they’ve invested, and, you know, it’s about the guys.”

Mullins was the starting point guard on the 2007 Southern Illinois team that lost to Kansas in the regional semifinal.  He was also the Missouri Valley Conference Defensive Player of the Year. And if Loyola is going to get past Nevada, the Ramblers will do it by keeping up their success on that side of the ball.

“Defense is such a mentality,” said Mullins, who’s watched as Loyola has held every opponent it’s faced since Valentine’s Day under 70 points. “It’s about playing hard, and being consistent, and playing every possession the same way.  We have an older group of guys, so they understand concepts, they understand schemes, they get the scouting report things. And then we have a competitive group of guys. So, they don’t want to get scored on. They know how important defense is.”

And they have a head coach who believes in defense too - Mullins’ boss, Porter Moser.

“You know, he’s got an unbelievable energy,” Mullins said.  “Every day he brings it. He doesn’t have any bad days. And that’s probably the most  impressive thing since I’ve been with him. He’s the most energetic person on the court, in the office, every single day.  He wants his staff to be like that, he wants his players to be like that. And I think everyone’s kind of bought in, and followed his lead.”

Loyola puts its energy - and its defense - to the test on Thursday night in Atlanta.