The Final Four of the NCAA tournament is now set, and in spite of valiant efforts on the part of the remaining Catholic schools, all were eliminated from the tournament over the weekend. After Xavier’s loss in the round of 16, two Catholic schools remained in the Elite 8.

Notre Dame’s season came to an end on Saturday night after an epic battle with the top-seeded Kentucky Wildcats. In what will go down as a tournament classic, Notre Dame guard Jerian Grant missed a desperate attempt at the buzzer, ending Notre Dame’s season and advancing Kentucky to the Final Four.

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Notre Dame’s loss ended the best tournament run by Notre Dame since the 1970s teams that featured future NBA greats Adrian Dantley, Kelly Tripucka, and Bill Laimbeer. All three of these Notre Dame stars went on to successful careers with the Detroit Pistons, with Laimbeer playing the role of villain exquisitely for the famous “Bad Boys” teams that won 2 NBA titles.

The patron of the city of Detroit is St. Anne, Mary’s mother, and so the connection between Notre Dame, dedicated to Anne’s daughter, and Detroit is about as natural as they come. In order to advance further next year, Notre Dame might wish to redouble its efforts in recruiting players from Detroit and asking for St. Anne’s help in doing so. If they do this, next year’s potential winning shots just might find their way into the basket.

In Sunday’s game, Gonzaga, the last surviving Catholic school, lost to Duke. Although they have operated a top-notch program for nearly two decades, Gonzaga has yet to reach the Final Four, surely resulting in a significant amount of frustration for long-time head coach Mark Few.

At times like these, Few and other Gonzaga fans would be advised to follow the example of St. Monica, that pillar of 4th-century patience. In North Africa and Italy, she pushed against not only an adulterous, pagan husband, but also an ungrateful, gnostic son. Monica, who is perhaps the original helicopter parent, followed the future St. Augustine around and prayed for him relentlessly in order to bring him to Christianity. Her patience obviously paid off in spades. Gonzaga basketball, then, should have faith that their best days are ahead, and that when their breakthrough does come, it will come in such a spectacular fashion that their previous disappointments will wilt away.

Although all of the Catholic schools have been eliminated from the men’s tournament, in the ever-exciting women’s tournament, two Catholic schools remain – Notre Dame and Dayton. Dayton plays heavily favored Connecticut Monday night for their chance to go to the Final Four. But after Connecticut’s 55-point victory over 5th-ranked Texas on Saturday, St. Jude may be the only place to look for 7th-ranked Dayton.

Notre Dame started Holy Week in style in the women’s tournament by punching its ticket to the Final Four on Sunday night with a win over Baylor. Notre Dame’s women’s program has been a powerhouse for years, and this year’s run marks their 5th consecutive Final Four, although they haven’t won the championship since 2001.

Perhaps the key to victory this year is to call on Hildegaard of Bingen. St. Hildegaard, the 12th-century writer, musician, scientist, proto-feminist, poet, reformer, and mystic, was nothing if not versatile. When the opposition tries to pen in the Notre Dame women with a particularly vexing defensive strategy, players might recall how Hildegaard and her fellow nuns gained freedom from the control of her male-dominated monastic rulers in order to establish their own monastery, which flourished under Hildegaard’s rule. These are the kind of exemplary women Notre Dame will have to consult if it wishes to lift the trophy and carry the Catholic hope in March Madness.

As for the men, the Final Four teams feature mascots that include the nondescript Wildcats and Badgers, while also including the Spartans of Michigan State and the Blue Devils of Duke. When the choices are converting animals, converting pagans, or exorcising the devil, the Catholic options for which team to support are limited, indeed.

Daniel MacLeod is an assistant professor of Catholic studies and history at St. Paul’s College at the University of Manitoba in Winnipeg, Canada. As an exercise in his courses, he runs a bracket game called Catholic Madness that includes some non-saints. “Tolkien usually does pretty well,” he reports, “and last semester Joseph of Cupertino took home the championship in one of my classes.”