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CHICAGO — Loyola's men's basketball team received an 11 seed in the NCAA Tournament's South Regional  Sunday, and will face sixth-seeded Miami in the opening round in Dallas Thursday.

The Ramblers (28-5, 15-3 Missouri Valley Conference) automatically qualified for the tournament by winning the league tournament in St. Louis March 4. They are making their first appearance in the Big Dance since 1985.

This is the sixth NCAA Tournament appearance in program history. Loyola owns a 9-4 all-time record in NCAA action. Loyola and Miami are meeting for the first time.

The 2017-18 season has been a record-setting one for Loyola, which has posted the second-highest single-season win total in school history (28), trailing only the 1963 NCAA championship squad's mark of 29 victories. Seventh-year head coach Porter Moser's squad also established a program record with 15 conference wins. 

Loyola has won 17 of its last 18 contests, including each of the last 10.

The Ramblers received the Valley's third 11 seed in the NCAA Tournament in the last three years. Northern Iowa and Wichita State both got 11 seeds in 2016. The Shockers received a 10 seed last season.

The winner of Thursday's Loyola-Miami game will play either third-seeded Tennessee (25-8) or 14th-seeded Wright State (25-9) in the second round.  

Murray State (26-5), which won the Ohio Valley Conference Tournament, received a 12 seed in the East Regional and will take on fifth-seeded West Virginia (24-10) in San Diego. The winner of the Racers and Mountaineers will play either fourth-seeded Wichita State (25-7) or 13th-seeded Marshall (24-10), the winners of the Conference USA Tournament. 

Purdue (28-6), which is coached by former SIU assistant and head coach Matt Painter, received a 2 seed and will play 15th-seeded Cal State Fullerton (20-11) in the East Regional. The winner of Purdue/Cal State Fullerton will take on No. 7 seed Arkansas (23-11) or No. 10 seed Butler (20-13). 

Nevada (27-7), which SIU lost to in the Las Vegas Classic in December, received a 7 seed in the South Regional. The Wolf Pack will play 10th-seeded Texas (19-14) in Nashville, Tennessee.


On Twitter: @THefferman


Sports reporter

Todd Hefferman has covered SIU athletics since 2008. A University of Iowa grad, he is a member of the U.S. Basketball Writers Association and a Heisman Trophy voter.

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