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Southern Illinois Falls to Kansas

By Benjy Lipsman in News on Mar 23, 2007 3:00PM

2007_03_sports_siu_loss.jpgAlthough the clock was still hours from midnight, especially since they played on the west coast, the Southern Illinois Salukis' "Cinderella" run came up short last night, sending the last of our local teams home from the dance. While they hung with the first-seed Kansas Jayhawks most of the night, they just couldn't pull off the upset, losing 61-58.

Having closed early 6- and 8-point deficits in the opening minutes of the game, SIU kept the tightly contested game within 4 points the rest of the evening, going into the half down three at 27-24.

In the second half, Jamaal Tatum scored 17 of his 19 points and kept SIU in the game. Unfortunately for the Salukis, it wasn't enough in spite of controlling the game's tempo.

While the last of our local teams has now bowed out, the Salukis had a nice run in the tournament. The mid-majors continue to demonstrate that they can hang with the biggest of programs, so we can only hope that the selection committee will continue to send more at-large bids to those conferences.

Chicagoist knows that we'd much rather see a regular season conference champ that got upset in their conference tournament, or a second- or third-best team in a conference appear in the NCAA over a seventh team from the SEC or ACC. With runs from teams like George Mason last year, or SIU this year, that should become a reality sooner rather than later.

Image via REUTERS/Robert Galbraith.