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MEN'S BASKETBALL: Southern Utah's men's basketball team heads out on its final road swing of the 2009-10 season this week when the Thunderbirds travel to Macomb, Ill., and Indianapolis, Ind, for games against Western Illinois on Thursday evening and IUPUI on Saturday night.
The Thunderbirds (6-19, 2-12 Summit League) will be looking to stop a four-game slide after home losses to league-leader Oakland as well as IPFW last week and dropping both ends of a road swing to South Dakota State and North Dakota State the previous week.
Western Illinois (11-14, 4-10) picked up two huge road wins at Oral Roberts and Centenary last week, solidifying its hold on a Summit League tournament berth and putting SUU's chances of advancing to the tournament in jeopardy.
IUPUI (18-9, 11-3) hosts UMKC on Thursday night before hosting SUU on Saturday. The Jaguars had won seven of eight games before suffering a 61-60 setback at Oral Roberts on Saturday.
SUU is currently the ninth seed heading into the eight-team Summit League Tournament, which is slated to begin March 6, in Sioux Falls, S.D. The Thunderbirds are two games behind WIU, which is currently the eighth seed, and three behind No. 7 UMKC. To earn a berth into the tournament, SUU needs to win at least three of its remaining four games, including a win over WIU, and needs the Leathernecks to lose at least three games as well. SUU also has a chance to catch UMKC by winning out and having the 'Roos lose the remainder of their games; should that scenario unfold the Thunderbirds would hold the tie-breaker over the 'Roos.