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Mississippi St Kentucky Basketball

Kentucky's Tyler Herro (14) shoots while defended by Mississippi State's Tyson Carter (23) during the first half of Tuesday's game at Lexington, Kentucky.

Loyola's fall has helped SIU in the NET race, as the Salukis own a win over one of the other teams tied for first place in the Missouri Valley Conference. SIU split with Missouri State, which has the fourth-best NET ranking in the league (147).

The Salukis host Loyola Sunday for another chance at a high-NET victory. The Ramblers' 124 ranking leads the MVC.

With four teams with Basketball Power Indexes (BPI) of 300 or worse, the back end of SIU's strength of schedule continued to drag it down. The Salukis' strength of schedule, via ESPN.com, stood at 172 Monday. Howard had a BPI of 300, Southeast Missouri State was 318, Arkansas-Pine Bluff was 322, and SIU-Edwardsville was 337. The top of SIU's schedule strength continued to be the best in the Valley, with fourth-ranked Kentucky No. 5 in the NET and sixth in the BPI. Twenty-fourth-ranked Buffalo was 23rd in the NET and 25th in the BPI.

SIU Salukis (14-13, 7-7 MVC)

NET: 144

ESPN.com BPI: 148 

ESPN.com SOS: 172

Last game: Beat Indiana State 79-57 / Next game: At Valparaiso (13-14, 6-8 MVC) Wednesday

SIU OPPONENT WATCH

No. 4 Kentucky Wildcats (21-4, 10-2 SEC)

NET: 5

ESPN.com BPI: 6

Vs. SIU: Won 71-59 Nov. 9

Last game: Beat No. 1 Tennessee 86-69 / Next game: At Missouri (12-12, 3-9 SEC) Tuesday

No. 24/25 Buffalo Bulls (22-3, 10-2 MAC)

NET: 23

ESPN.com BPI: 25

Vs. SIU: Won 62-53 at SIU Nov. 12, won 73-65 in Buffalo Dec. 15

Last game: Beat Toledo 88-82 / Next game: Host Ohio (11-13, 3-9 MAC) Tuesday

Arkansas-Pine Bluff Golden Lions (11-15, 8-5 SWAC)

NET: 333

ESPN.com BPI: 330

Vs. SIU: SIU won 78-48 Nov. 17 in Carbondale

Last game: Beat Alcorn State 73-62 / Next game: At Texas Southern (14-11, 9-3) Saturday

Howard Bison (12-15, 6-6 MEAC)

NET: 292

ESPN.com BPI: 300

Vs. SIU: SIU won 83-69 Nov. 19 in Carbondale

Last game: Lost 85-81 to North Carolina A&T / Next game: At Coppin State (6-21, 6-6 MEAC) Saturday

UMASS Minutemen (9-16, 2-10 A10)

NET: 205

ESPN.com BPI: 175

Vs. SIU: Won 84-62 Nov. 22 in Las Vegas

Last game: Lost to George Mason in overtime 80-75 / Next game: At George Washington (7-18, 3-9 A10) Wednesday

Tulsa Golden Hurricane (16-10, 6-7 American)

NET: 74

ESPN.com BPI: 113

Vs. SIU: SIU won 79-69 Nov. 23 in Las Vegas

Last game: Beat East Carolina 77-73 in overtime / Next game: Host Wichita State (12-12, 5-7 American) Wednesday

Colorado State Rams (9-16, 4-8 MWC)

NET: 210

ESPN.com BPI: 211

Vs. SIU: SIU won 82-67 Nov. 27 in Fort Collins, Colorado

Last game: Lost 71-60 to San Diego State / Next game: At San Jose State (3-21, 0-12 MWC) Wednesday

SIU-Edwardsville Cougars (8-18, 4-10 OVC)

NET: 329

ESPN.com BPI: 337

Vs. SIU: SIU won 82-61 Dec. 1 in Edwardsville

Last game: Lost 73-69 to Tennessee-Martin / Next game: At Tennessee State (8-18, 5-9 OVC) Thursday

Saint Louis Billikens (17-9, 8-5 A10)

NET: 119

ESPN.com BPI: 112

Vs. SIU: SIU won 61-56 Dec. 5 in Carbondale

Last game: Beat LaSalle 62-49 / Next game: At Dayton (16-9, 8-4 A10) Saturday

Southeast Missouri State Redhawks (9-18, 4-10 OVC)

NET: 314

ESPN.com BPI: 318

Vs. SIU: SIU won 83-73 Dec. 8 at Cape Girardeau, Missouri

Last game: Beat Eastern Illinois 88-79 / Next game: At Austin Peay (19-8, 11-3 OVC) Thursday

Murray State Racers (21-4, 12-2 OVC)

NET: 62

ESPN.com BPI: 52

Vs. SIU: Murray State won 80-52 in Carbondale

Last game: Beat Eastern Kentucky 102-70 / Next game: Host Tennessee-Martin (10-15, 5-9 OVC) Thursday

Winthrop Eagles (17-9, 9-4 Big South)

NET: 166

ESPN.com BPI: 163

Vs. SIU: Winthrop won 79-71 in Carbondale

Last game: Lost 64-60 to Gardner-Webb / Next game: At Radford (18-8, 10-2 Big South) Thursday

*Missouri State Bears (15-12, 9-5 MVC)

NET: 147

ESPN.com BPI: 152

Vs. SIU: SIU won 75-70 in Carbondale; MSU won 65-59 in Springfield, Mo.

Last game: Beat Loyola 65-61 / Next game: Host Northern Iowa (12-15, 7-7 MVC) Wednesday

*Northern Iowa Panthers (12-15, 7-7 MVC)

NET: 179

ESPN.com BPI: 196

Vs. SIU: SIU won 58-51 in Cedar Falls, Iowa; SIU won 70-62 in Carbondale

Last game: Beat Evansville 73-58 / Next game: At Missouri State (15-12, 9-5 MVC) Wednesday

*Drake Bulldogs (20-7, 9-5 MVC)

NET: 136

ESPN.com BPI: 142

Vs. SIU: Drake won 82-70 in Des Moines; Drake won 72-69 in Carbondale

Last game: Beat Valparaiso 84-79 / Next game: Host Bradley (15-12, 7-7 MVC) Tuesday

*Valparaiso Crusaders (13-14, 6-8 MVC)

NET: 177

ESPN.com BPI: 193

Vs. SIU: Valparaiso won 65-61; SIU at Valparaiso Feb. 20

Last game: Lost 84-79 to Drake / Next game: Host SIU (14-13, 7-7 MVC) Wednesday

*Illinois State Redbirds (14-13, 7-7 MVC)

NET: 188

ESPN.com BPI: 204

Vs. SIU: Illinois State won 59-58; Illinois State at SIU March 2

Last game: Lost 65-59 to Bradley / Next game: At Indiana State (13-13, 5-9 MVC) Wednesday

*Bradley Braves (15-12, 7-7 MVC)

NET: 175

ESPN.com BPI: 180

Vs. SIU: Bradley won 57-54 at SIU; SIU won 72-68 at Bradley

Last game: Beat Illinois State 65-59 / Next game: At Drake (20-7, 9-5 MVC) Tuesday

*Loyola Ramblers (16-11, 9-5 MVC)

NET: 124

ESPN.com BPI: 111

Vs. SIU: Loyola won 75-50 in Chicago; Loyola at SIU Feb. 24

Last game: Lost 65-61 to Missouri State / Next game: Host Evansville (10-17, 4-10 MVC) Wednesday

*Indiana State Sycamores (13-13, 5-9 MVC)

NET: 202

ESPN.com BPI: 242

Vs. SIU: SIU won 88-73 at SIU; SIU won 79-57 at Terre Haute, Ind.

Last game: Lost 79-57 to SIU / Next game: Host Illinois State (14-13, 7-7 MVC) Wednesday

*Evansville Purple Aces (10-17, 4-10 MVC)

NET: 203

ESPN.com BPI: 252

Vs. SIU: Evansville at SIU Feb. 9, SIU at Evansville Feb. 27

Last game: Lost 73-58 to Northern Iowa / Next game: At Loyola (16-11, 9-5 MVC) Wednesday

* MVC school

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todd.hefferman@thesouthern.com

618-351-5087

On Twitter: @THefferman

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Sports reporter

Todd Hefferman has covered SIU athletics since 2008. A University of Iowa grad, he is a member of the U.S. Basketball Writers Association and a Heisman Trophy voter.

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