Busting Brackets

NCAA Basketball Ranking of top 10 mid-major winners of 2024 offseason

McNeese v Gonzaga
McNeese v Gonzaga / Christian Petersen/GettyImages
8 of 11

No. 7: Loyola Chicago

As it would turn out, George Mason (and Saint Louis) weren't the only A-10 teams to be having a big offseason. The Ramblers have spent the offseason making some solid additions both in the portal along with a strong incoming freshman class. The Ramblers had a solid bounce back 2023-24 season in Drew Valentine's third year at the helm, finishing 23-10 overall with a 15-3 mark in A-10 play, which put them in a tie for first in the league.

Before the transfer portal opened, however, it was already clear that the Ramblers were building something big, as they prepared to welcome a top 50 ranked recruiting class. Headlining the Ramblers' freshman class are two guards in Seifeldin Hendawy and Daniil Glazkov, who are widely viewed as four star recruits. Hendawy, a native of Cairo, Egypt, previously was a part of NBA Academy Africa and has experience playing on the Egyptian National Team. Glazkov is a product of IMG academy, and coming out of high school, Glazkov received offers from multiple high major programs, but ultimately opted to join the Ramblers.

In the portal, the Ramblers have brought in Drexel guard Justin Moore, Washington State guard Kymany Houinsou, Georgia forward Jalen Deloach, and UC San Diego forward Francis Nwaokorie. It's a recruiting class that has plenty of experience, including NCAA tournament experience in Houinsou. In his sophomore year this season, Houinsou averaged 4.3 ppg, 3.4 rpg, and 2.1 apg in his 20.1 minutes per game while playing in all 35 of the Cougars' games last year. A move to Loyola could prove to be a stepping stone for Houinsou, who looks poised to see an increased role within the Ramblers rotation.

The same could be said for Jalen Deloach, who averaged 3.6 ppg and 3.3 rpg in 12.8 minutes per game. Moore and Nwaokorie both were starters this season at their respective schools, and both averaged double figures in scoring and look set to see plenty of minutes with the Ramblers.

On top of this, Loyola Chicago has only lost one player to the transfer portal, a figure that is among the lowest of any team in the country. Drew Valentine led the Ramblers to the NCAA tournament in his first year as coach in 2022, and after the impressive offseason the team has had, don't be surprised to see the Ramblers back in the tournament next year.