A new Saluki motto: Just win, baby.

By Gus Bode

I’m channeling my inner Al Davis.

Not the crazy, goofy, obsessively controlling side though.

The side that says: ‘Just win, baby.’

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Because for the SIU men’s basketball team, it is as simple as this: A win on senior night avoids what once looked to be unavoidable.’ The dreaded Thursday game in St. Louis.

And as much fun a four-day weekend under the Arch would be, winning three in a row is much easier than winning four straight. It’s simple math, which is the only math I like.

After sneaking out of the Knapp Center with a hard-fought one-point win, the lucky Dawgs could earn a chance to rest their weary legs with a win on Saturday against Wichita State.

My best advice would be to do the exact opposite of what Drake did to start its senior night. Because for whatever reason, SIU outhustled, outplayed and outcoached the Bulldogs for the first 20 minutes of that ball game. And for a good portion of that game, for that matter.

Yet, what seemed impossible during the team’s four-game losing streak is so possible, it can be described in the simplest of terms.

Win Saturday ‘- play on Friday.

Lose Saturday ‘- play on Thursday.

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It’s win and you’re in the Friday bracket, or lose and meet me in St. Louis on Thursday.

After a disappointing senior season for Bryan Mullins, Tony Boyle and Wesley Clemmons, there would be no better send-off than spoiling senior night for last year’s Valley champs and securing a slot in Friday’s conference tournament schedule.

This class deserves at least that.

Despite the turmoil that rattled the team earlier in the season, SIU could finish with the No. 5 seed in the tournament.

Saluki head coach Chris Lowery preaches patience as the young Salukis suffer through the growing pains that come with such a learning experience. And I’m thinking there is no better learning environment than the Scottrade Center.

I’m curious to see what comes out of a hungry team of youngsters and seniors on their last legs in an arena that SIU has been known to have its fair share of trouble.

In the end, though, none of that matters until after Saturday’s game where Lowery should write three words on the whiteboard before the team and its seniors head out to the floor one last time.

Just. Win. Baby.

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