The recent wave of realignment in college football has seemingly spread over to college basketball this November, as Loyola University Chicago announced Tuesday that it’s making way for a new conference.
Sister Jean and the Ramblers are headed to the Atlantic 10.
Loyola-Chicago shared the news alongside the conference on Tuesday afternoon, just two games into the 2021-22 college basketball season. The Ramblers will depart the Missouri Valley Conference after this year’s campaign comes to a close and join the A-10 starting next fall.
“I am excited to announce that Loyola University Chicago will be joining the Atlantic 10 Conference beginning in the 2022-23 academic year,” Loyola President Dr. Jo Ann Rooney said in a press release from the Ramblers’ new conference. “The A-10 is widely regarded as one of the top conferences in the country for its success in competition and in the classroom. This move will continue to grow our visibility at a national level, while at the same time placing us in a league with three other Jesuit institutions. We are confident this is a move that positions Loyola for even greater success, both athletically and academically, in the future.”
Combining exceptional academics + nationally competitive athletics, Loyola Chicago will become the 15th member of the Atlantic 10 in the 2022-23 academic year.
— Atlantic10Conference (@atlantic10) November 16, 2021
Loyola-Chicago’s decision to climb the ranks in college basketball comes after a recent string of success in the NCAA Tournament. The Ramblers went 26-5 during the 2020-21 campaign and made a run to the Sweet Sixteen, marking the second time they’d advanced that far in the event in the last four seasons.
The highlight of Loyola-Chicago’s nine years in the Missouri Valley came when the men’s basketball team made it to the Final Four in 2018. The 11th-seeded Ramblers fell to Michigan in their National Semifinal, but became a fan favorite during their Cinderella run.
This past offseason, Loyola-Chicago men’s basketball team underwent some significant changes. Porter Moser, who’d led the program for the last decade, left to take over the Oklahoma coaching job after achieving quite a bit of success with the Ramblers.
Drew Valentine became Loyola-Chicago’s new head coach and he’ll now oversee another monumental move to the A-10. The conference will give the Ramblers an opportunity to play against some of the country’s top teams on a nightly basis.
For now, Valentine will focus on trying to get the program back to the NCAA Tournament in 2022. The Ramblers have won both of their first two games so far this season.