It's been tough sledding for St. Louis University basketball in putting together its nonconference schedule, but Rick Majerus signed a deal to face national champion Duke on Dec. 11 in Durham, N.C.http://www.stltoday.com/sports/basketba ... 2bc8b.html
It's a one-game deal, with no return game in St. Louis, and Majerus and his staff have been seeking home-and-home series with quality teams. But the opportunity for SLU to get one of the elite of the elite of college basketball that Majerus couldn't pass it up.
"We want to play the best," Majerus said. "It's good for our fans, good for our recruits."
The game will be nationally televised on CBS, leading into the Army-Navy football game on CBS later that day.
The Blue Devils, who undoubtedly will be ranked among the top teams nationally in the preseason poll, haven't lost a non-conference game at Cameron Indoor Stadium since St. John's pulled the upset on Feb. 26, 2000. Duke has won 77 consecutive non-conference games at home.
Majerus, however, wants to improve SLU's profile in the Ratings Percentage Index (RPI), which is a component in analyzing a team's credentials for inclusion in the NCAA Tournament. And strength of schedule is an important factor in the RPI formula. Playing powerful Duke will surely boost SLU's RPI number.
"This is a great RPI game for us," Majerus said. "And this will be a great experience for our kids. It's one of the most storied venues in the history of college basketball."
SLU had a good 2009-2010 season, finishing 23-13 overall and 11-5 in the Atlantic 10 Conference. But SLU's snub from the NIT angered Majerus. That's one of the reasons why he's been working hard to improve SLU's non-conference schedule and elevate the Billikens' national profile.
SLU's nonconference schedule also includes a game at Portland, a homecoming trip for forward Brian Conklin, a pre-Christmas tournament in Cancun, Mexico, and games with Georgia and Missouri State.
I don't care if SLU loses. They haven't played a team that's this good.
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