Tough road ahead

By Gus Bode

The SIU men’s basketball success over the last few years has earned it a tough schedule for the 2007-2008 year.

The Salukis released their non-conference schedule Monday and will open their season Nov. 3 at home against King College.

The toughest non-conference match for the Salukis will be against Indiana University Dec. 1.

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Head Coach Chris Lowery said having a team like Indiana play in Carbondale is a reward to fans. The game will also be a challenge for the Salukis because of how strong the Hoosiers are.

Lowery said another feature to the non-conference schedule is a Thanksgiving tournament that will take place in Anaheim, Calif. The tournament is also beneficial for the Salukis because it will give them a chance to visit a city outside of the Midwest, Lowery said.

“I like taking my kids places they never been before. In my three years here we have gone to places that they may have never been to and may never go to again,” Lowery said.

Lowery said facing top-rated teams such as Charlotte, Indiana and possibly USC in the Anaheim tournament will give the Salukis one of the most challenging non-conference schedules they’ve ever had.

Assistant coach Brad Korn said it is essential for SIU to compete against more high-major schools every year.

Korn said if SIU just played low-major schools and teams they could defeat easily, they would have trouble competing against BCS schools in the NCAA tournament.

“It’s important if you want to grow as a program,” Korn said. “Tough non-conference gets you ready for your conference and your conference gets you ready for postseason play.”

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Higher-quality opponents also equates to more national coverage.

Lowery said he thinks the amount of games televised this year should increase.

“We feel that a lot of people want to see these guys and we got some things in the works and we think it will be a favorable TV listing,” he said.

Daily Egyptian writer Eugene Clark can be reached at 536-3111 ext. 269 or [email protected]

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