This is the fourth of five season recaps that will appear this week. There will be one each day in reverse order of current KenPom ranking.
Here's the funny thing, according to the statistics, Loyola was pretty good this season. But it's not stats, but wins and losses that ultimately determine how your season went and the Ramblers just failed to live up to expectations.
Thus Jim Whitesell is out and Loyola, under new athletic director Dr. Grace Calhoun, is out looking for a new head coach. No one is really sure who that is going to be, but whoever is hired will have an interesting task in front of them. Loyola seems locked into eighth place in the Horizon League, and getting free of that stigma will be a challenge.
The first step might be to schedule a more challenging non-conference slate, but we'll see what philosophies the new coach has whenever he officially takes over.
Season Statistical Snapshot:
- Final KenPom: 141
- KenPom Offense: 126
- KenPom Defense: 155
- Final Record: 16-15
- Conference Record: 7-11
Season Highlights: The season started off with a bang as the Ramblers started out 7-0, including a victory in their own multi-team event, which included eventual NCAA Tournament team Indiana State. Close losses to Butler and Kansas State also gave Rambler fans hope that this season would be different. Unfortunately things didn't get good again until Courtney Stanley's game-winning three-pointer in overtime against UIC and a 20-point victory at Valparaiso in the final weekend of conference play.
Season Lowlight: Loyola was your classic middling team and thus really didn't suffer a single "bad" loss all season. The worst one was probably at DePaul on Dec. 18. Geoff McCammon scored 31 points, but it wasn't enough to carry the Ramblers past their cross-town rival.
Player to Remember: Andy Polka - Sr, F: Polka's career was marred by injuries, but he grabbed 959 rebounds during his career and is a finalist for the Chip Hilton Award. He finished first in the Horizon League at 8.9 rebounds per game.
Next Year: This section is tricky because it's hard to say what 2011-12 will be like for the Ramblers without knowing who their coach will be. The loss of McCammon, Polka and Terrance Hill means that there will be a lot of slack to absorb on offense, where those possessions go will probably help determine how efficient the offense is moving forward.
Loyola currently has two shooting guards committed for next season in Colin Beatty and Joe Crisman. This team could really use a point guard and/or for Stanley to continue the development that he showed at the end of this season into his senior season. The backcourt is where this team can make its biggest strides.
Keep an eye on this situation because it's fluid pending the quality of the hire of the new head coach. It's a huge decision for Calhoun to make during her first days on the job.