Here’s A Look Back At The Biggest Comeback Ever Staged In The March Madness Title Game

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The nature of sports means that every thrilling victory can also be viewed as a devastating defeat by the players, teams, and fans who ultimately end up on the wrong side of a close game.

Those losses can be particularly brutal in cases where it seems like there’s no way the outcome is going to be close when everything is said and done before (depending on how you look at things) one competitor mounts a dramatic comeback or falls victim to a collapse of epic proportions.

Contests featuring those wild swings of fortune aren’t exactly rare in sports, although that doesn’t really make them less embarrassing when they do unfold.

That’s especially true when they occur on the biggest stage imaginable—a fact that every single person who was rooting for the Falcons to beat the Patriots in Super Bowl LI knows all too well.

Every other team that’s seen a massive lead slip away in a similarly major event can thank Atlanta for going above and beyond to all but ensure “28-3” will remainly firmly at the top of every list ranking the greatest chokejobs in the history of sports for years to come.

However, there are still plenty of honorable mentions that deserve some recognition—including the biggest comeback to unfold on college basketball’s biggest stage.

Remembering the biggest comeback in the history of the NCAA Tournament championship game

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March Madness has been home to some absolutely stunning upsets and plenty of equally unlikely comebacks over the years.

To date, no team has staged a more dramatic turnaround than Duke did in 2001 after finding itself in a 22-point hole against Maryland in the first half of their Final Four showdown before kicking things into very high gear and punching its ticket to the title game with the 95-84 victory.

However, we have to go back a bit further to find the championship showdown that featured a similarly impressive momentum swing.

If you’ve been keeping tabs on college basketball in recent years, you’re probably familiar with Sister Jean, the centenarian nun who serves as the unofficial mascot for Loyola Chicago’s basketball team.

The Ramblers have managed to make some fairly deep runs since 2018 only to ultimately fall short in their quest to hoist the trophy following the final game of the tourney.

That’s undoubtedly been a somewhat frustrating development for Sister Jean, although she can take solace in knowing she’s one of the few college basketball fans who got to see the team win their first (and only) title in 1963.

Loyola Chicago was one of the 25 teams in the country to earn an invite to the tournament that year, and it was joined by Duke, Cincinnati, and Oregon State in a Final Four where the Ramblers and the Bearcats coasted to the title game with their respective blowout wins over the Blue Devils and the Beavers.

It initially looked like Cincinnati was well on its way to dispatching Loyola with similar ease in that contest. The Bearcats headed into the locker room with a nine-point lead at halftime and had managed to extend it to 15 points with 14 minutes remaining in the second half.

Unfortunately for them, the Ramblers weren’t going down without a fight, and they clawed their way back into a game that was knotted at 54 at the end of regulation.

Loyola rode that momentum into overtime and edged out its opponent to secure the title by a score of 60-58 to cap off what remains the largest comeback in the history of the NCAA Tournament championship game.