By Stephen D. Riley, Special to the AFRO

Thanks for all the bracket-busting and Cinderella Story specials but the postseason dance for the Loyola-Chicago Ramblers is officially over. The Ramblers became a quick darling after dropping Miami, Tennessee and Nevada by a total of four points in three rounds but ran into a hotter team in the Michigan Wolverines in a 69-57 test of strengths this weekend. For all the havoc the Cinderella Ramblers created, order has been restored.

Loyola-Chicago’s Marques Townes (5) battles for the ball against Michigan’s Charles Matthews (1) and Charles Matthews (1) during the first half in the semifinals of the Final Four NCAA college basketball tournament, Saturday, March 31, 2018, in San Antonio. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)

It’s only fun to be a Cinderella when you win the whole thing. Other than that, we’re just wasting time until the real champions flex their muscle. I’m not mad at just Loyola-Chicago but all the No. one and No. two seeds that exited early and deprived us of a heavyweight championship game. A title game featuring Michigan and Villanova has the name recognition you want but there aren’t many familiar with the surprise Wolverines. It’s not the Xavier, North Carolina or Virginia squads we all figured it would be before the tournament started.

Maybe I’m just being ungrateful. Maybe I should be satisfied with the names on the front of the jerseys rather than the back. Or maybe not. In the age of one-and-done, the names on the back matter to me more than ever. I want to watch the biggest and best prospects playing for the title. Give me the team loaded with lottery talent and I’ll grab my popcorn. I became a Duke watcher this season simply because they were loaded with talent, and I hate Duke.

It’s okay Loyola-Chicago, you were just a waste of time but you weren’t alone. Shame on all the Cinderella’s and the Goliaths that knotted up brackets everywhere and forced heavy Vegas payouts. I guess I’ll sit back on Monday night and act like I recognize Michigan’s starting five. Which one of them is a lottery pick?

Stephen D. Riley

Special to the AFRO