Sister Jean Gave A Very Specific, Analytics-Driven Prayer Before Loyola Chicago Played 1-Seed Illinois And God Answered

Sister Jean Loyola Chicago March Madness

Getty Image

Sister Jean knows what she’s talking about. Loyola Chicago’s 101-year old team chaplain has become something of a folk hero over the past few years. She was 98 years old when her Ramblers made an improbable run to the Final Four of the NCAA Tournament in 2018 and she’s back again. After receiving both COVID-19 vaccinations and being cleared to travel, she arrived in Indianapolis with hopes of going all the way in 2021.

If you thought that the team’s success was rooted in a belief in a higher power, you would be right, as the university is a private Jesuit school. However, it isn’t all blind faith. Sister Jean revealed on Saturday that her pregame prayers incorporate a well-thought-out, analytics-driven scouting report.

When her team was about to take the court against the No. 1 overall seed, she prayed over the Ramblers with a very-specific, game-oriented message.

“As we play the Fighting Illini, we ask for special help to overcome this team and get a great win. We hope to score early and make our opponents nervous. We have a great opportunity to convert rebounds as this team makes about 50% of layups and 30% of its three pointers. Our defense can take care of that,” her invocation included.

God answered her prayer. Loyola Chicago went on to upset Illinois and advance to the Sweet Sixteen behind senior Cameron Krutwig’s 19 points and 12 rebounds. He was a big part of the Final Four run in 2018 and continues to be an unstoppable force in the paint.

Sister Jean was pumped.

While the win was impressive, the manner in which it happened is pretty unbelievable. Sister Jean emphasized five key things in her pregame prayer and they all played out in the upset victory:

  • “Score early and make our opponents nervous”
    • Loyola Chicago jumped out to a 19-9 lead just after the first 10 minutes.
  • “Convert rebounds”
    • Loyola Chicago out-rebounded Illinois 30-27.
  • Hold Illinois to 50% or less in layups
    • Illinois scored 26 points in the paint and scored a total of 58 in the game. Probably pretty close.
  • Hold Illinois below 30% on three-point shots
    • Illinois shot 28.6% from beyond the arc.
  • Defense. Defense. Defense.
    • Illinois’ top player Ayo Dosunmu entered today with a 42-game streak of scoring in double figures. Loyola Chicago held him to nine points.

Sister Jean’s prayer was answered and the Ramblers looked dominant from start to finish. Fans were dancing all-over the Illini’s grave.

Loyola will try to continue their run against either 12-seed Oregon State or 4-seed Oklahoma State next weekend.