They lost to Loyola Chicago when no one was watching. They’re inspired to see where it led.

Within minutes, hours and days of a horn sounding on a regional final last Saturday in Atlanta, college basketball coaches across the American time zones commenced arranging mental notes and banging out various texts about a single topic. One texted his players both a halftime score and a final score from a game that occurred way back in the hidden wilds of November. One texted his players who had fanned out on spring break. At least two others would bring up the subject in team gatherings. One found his players stoked they had scored 69 points on a Final Four team.

They’re the coaches of teams that opposed Loyola Chicago when almost nobody was looking, in Chicago or Kansas City or Savannah, Ga., in front of crowds such as 2,814 and 1,482 and 1,133, numbers that illustrate the charm of the Ramblers’ surge to the Final Four, where they will play Michigan on Saturday. The first seven coaches to play Loyola this season have followed this surge in various degrees, and they can report an unseen byproduct:

A fresh hope has sprinkled around the land.

“I’m sure just like every coach at a

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