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2012 Missouri Valley Tournament, Southern Illinois Vs. Indiana State Preview

The No. 9 seed Southern Illinois Salukis take on the No. 8 seed Indiana State Sycamores in the first game of the 2012 Missouri Valley Conference Tournament on Thursday night in St. Louis. The Salukis suffered through a difficult conference regular season, winning just five of their 18 games in the MVC, but the slate is wiped clean for the postseason tournament and Southern Illinois gets another shot to redeem themselves.

The road to the championship will not be an easy one, as even a win on Thursday night would put them up against the No. 1 overall seed Wichita State Shockers on Friday. Mamadou Seck leads the team in points (13.3 PPG), rebounds (7.8 RPG) and assists (2.6 APG) and received honorable mention for the All-Conferene team in the Missouri Valley Conference on Tuesday. Dantiel Daniels was named to the All-Freshman team as well.

Salukis head coach Chris Lowery recently spoke with SIUsalukis.com about the pressure to perform well heading into the tournament:

"I feel pressure every time we come out. I can't allow them to see pressure because then they'll respond to that. Me handling it the right way with them will allow them to handle it the right way, and that's kinda where we've been, especially with the new guys, because there's no way if we bring eight new guys in here and I'm tense, they wouldn't come back every game like they have, and they've really tried to focus on the things they need to focus on."

Missouri Valley Conference Tournament, Game 1

#8 Indiana State Sycamores (17-13, 8-10 MVC) vs. #9 Southern Illinois Salukis (8-22, 5-13 MVC)

Game Time, Date: 6:05 pm CT, Thursday, March 1, 2012

Location: Scottrade Center, St. Louis, MO

TV: -- MVC TV Network

Radio: Saluki Sports Network

The full tournament bracket can be found here.

For more on NCAA Hoops, check out the SB Nation NCAA hub at sbnation.com/NCAA-Basketball.