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Mid-Major Madness Coach of the Year: Porter Moser took Loyola University Chicago to new heights

A Cinderella run to the Final Four made this one obvious.

NCAA Basketball: Final Four-Loyola vs Michigan Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports

There are a lot of mid-major coaches who are deserving of the Coach of the Year award, but Porter Moser was a cut above the rest this season. He led Loyola University Chicago to a level that the program hadn’t seen since the 1960s, and the Ramblers’ trip to the Final Four put Moser directly in the spotlight.

By now, Loyola’s story has been told ad nauseam. You know Sister Jean, Clayton Custer, Cameron Krutwig, etc. But Moser was the man behind it all, leading the program to a 32-6 record en route to San Antonio.

Moser created a culture that emphasized ball movement and a stifling defense. The Ramblers were among the nation’s most efficient offenses, and had a top 20 defense in terms of defensive efficiency.

The Ramblers pulled out miracle after miracle in the NCAA Tournament, winning their first three games by a combined four points before routing Kansas State by 16 to move on to the Final Four. They came up short against Michigan, but Moser and the Ramblers had become the latest Cinderella program to thrust their name into the national discussion.

Moser will have the pieces to prove that he’s not a one-hit wonder. He returns key players such as Krutwig, Custer and Marques Townes, and he’s instilled a culture that seems ready to make the Ramblers consistent power players in the Missouri Valley. Until then, Moser can enjoy the offseason as one of the hottest names in college basketball.