Dingell makes Final Four bet with Illinois lawmaker

Melissa Nann Burke
Detroit News Washington Bureau

Washington — U.S. Rep. Debbie Dingell has wagered with an Illinois colleague that the University of Michigan will win in Saturday’s Final Four contest against Loyola-Chicago.

If No. 3 seed Michigan wins, Rep. Jan Schakowsky, D-Illinois, will have to wear a Michigan jersey for a day. Schakowsky’s district includes Loyola-Chicago.

If No. 11 seed Loyola wins, the Dearborn Democrat will have to wear Ramblers gear, her office said Friday. Dingell’s district includes Ann Arbor.

Dingell said she’s “fallen in love” with Sister Jean Dolores-Schmidt, Loyola-Chicago’s 98-year-old chaplain, with the rest of the country.

But she said the Wolverines have her husband, 91-year-old John Dingell, on their side, as well as Coach John Beilein and “Grammie,” former UM basketball player Jalen Rose’s 100-year-old grandmother.

“As John Dingell said, we all ‘pray to the same guy upstairs, so we’ll just have to see what he decides,’ ” Dingell said in a statement.

“But what we do know is that Coach Beilein will have the Wolverines ready to go, and their well-balanced attack, rock-solid defense and strong team play will be tough to beat — even for the Ramblers and Sister Jean.”

Schakowsky, whose district includes Loyola-Chicago, said she “can’t wait” to watch the Ramblers beat Michigan on Saturday.

“With Sister Jean on our side, Coach Porter Moses calling our shots, and the Ramblers exhibiting the team work and accuracy they have had all season long, there truly is ‘no finish line.’ Ramble on!” she said in a statement.

Dingell is among those leading the VIP standings in Politico Playbook’s College Basketball Bracket Challenge, currently ranking seventh — just ahead of former White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer. She has UM winning the championship.

Both Dingells went to Georgetown University but both have represented Ann Arbor, with John retiring from Congress three years ago.

His four children went to UM or Michigan State University, and “I’ve always been a Wolverine fan,” he told The Detroit News this week.

His favorite place to watch UM games is in his chair, “where I can comfortably yell at the TV.”