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NCAA tournament Bubble Watch: Loyola Chicago inches closer to tourney return

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Norris sinks OT 3-pointer for Loyola Chicago (0:23)

Braden Norris steps into a deep 3-point shot and drains it for Loyola Chicago vs. Southern Illinois. (0:23)

For Loyola Chicago, the season began with being picked to finish second behind Northern Iowa in the preseason Missouri Valley Conference poll. That same regular season has ended with the Ramblers earning a 21-4 record, a No. 21 ranking nationally and the program's first appearance in the AP poll since 1985.

As we say here at Bubble Watch, we've seen enough.

The Ramblers are hereby classified as a lock to make the NCAA tournament. That's not a customary status for a Valley program prior to the start of its conference tournament, but the Ramblers have been exceeding expectations all season long.