The Saluki basketball team is approaching history even after losing Sunday.
SIU is ranked No. 14 in the AP Top 25 and No. 13 in the ESPN/USA Today Poll, marking the fifth week in a row the Salukis have been ranked, one week short of the longest stretch in SIU history, set in 2004.
The 2004 season was the previous school record for highest ranking, when the Salukis appeared at No. 15 in both polls. Last week, SIU was 11th in both polls.
The Salukis (27-6, 15-3) went 2-1 in the Missouri Valley Conference Tournament, winning in the first two rounds against Drake and Bradley before dropping the championship game to Creighton (21-10, 13-5).
The 67-61 loss to the Bluejays ended SIU’s eight game winning streak over Creighton, dating back to Feb. 7, 2004.
The Salukis’ loss also snapped a 13 game winning streak that began Jan. 20 against Creighton. SIU beat the Bluejays 58-57 on a final-possession basket by sophomore guard Bryan Mullins.
Creighton’s MVC tournament championship guaranteed it a bid in the NCAA Tournament, to begin March 15.
The Salukis, having made the last five NCAA Tournaments and ranked in both major polls, are a virtual lock for the NCAA Tournament. But after Sunday’s loss to Creighton, SIU’s eventual seeding could take a hit.
Saluki coach Chris Lowery, however, said he doesn’t care about a drop in seeding because SIU should be seeded higher than seventh, the current school record.
“There are other people who are going to lose twice from here until the NCAA because there’s some conference tournaments still to be played,” Lowery said. “We can’t focus on the seeds right now, we got to make sure that our psyches are in the right frame of mind.”