Loyola's second date with Duke
Like UMBC coach Don Zimmerman, Loyola coach Charley Toomey has every right to be livid about getting matched up against top-seeded Duke when Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference champion Canisius has a weaker RPI and strength of schedule than the Eastern College Athletic Conference champion Greyhounds.
And like Zimmerman, Toomey isn't complaining about traveling to Durham, N.C., to tangle with the Blue Devils on Saturday at 2:30 p.m.
"We knew going into the tournament, we were going to see a terrific team," Toomey said after the brackets were released Sunday night. "Whether it was Syracuse, Virginia or Duke, that first-round game was going to be a difficult one. First and foremost, we're excited to be back in the tournament."
Loyola was the victim of the NCAA's archaic travel policy, which limits just two teams to flights for trips of more than 350 miles. With Denver flying to Maryland and Colgate flying to Notre Dame, the Greyhounds and Canisius had to drive to the site of their first-round opponent. So the Griffins remained in New York, taking on Syracuse, while Loyola got the unenviable task of meeting Duke.
Toomey, however, was philosophical about the shuffling.
"Being in Baltimore is great for recruiting, but it's also 350 miles from just about anywhere on the Eastern seaboard," he said. "... But you pick your poison. We're excited to be headed down there, and we're going to go after it and have a lot of fun this week knowing that we're back in the tournament."
Saturday's contest is a rematch of Duke's 21-8 throttling of the Greyhounds on March 8. Toomey said the team has already reviewed the game film.
"We're still going to stress a lot of the things we stressed in that game -- defending one possession, being smart with the ball, not putting the ball on the ground and allowing Duke to run," he said. "That was our goal the first time around, but we didn't achieve our goal. We kind of have to redefine what we're trying to do and make sure we execute a little better than we had."