SIU gets a leg up on other teams from the fringe conferences hoping to put multiple teams into the bracket. They took care of UMass last night in Carbondale, 80-73. The Minutemen got the Salukis to break from their traditional methodical pace and got this game to 72 possessions. UMass also shot (+11) and made more free throws (+8). They also out-rebounded SIU on the O-glass (+4) and overall (+10). When a team goes on the road and does those things, they have to like their chances.
But, those rabid Egyptian Dogs forced 20 TO's and only committed 10, which allowed them to get up a 12 more shots than UMass. Thus, SIU made 7 more field goals even though the teams shot similar percentages from the floor (47-45%, SIU +2).
Who knows how much a win over UMass is going to be worth, but it's a starting point among NCAA hopefuls.
Tomorrow, we will take a look at the HUGE slate of games coming this opening weekend.