USI’s men’s basketball team has yet to get that far under coach Rodney Watson. It has lost each time in the quarterfinals — that is, in the first game — the past two years. This year, though, the Eagles have the highest seeding yet under Watson, at No. 2, when they go into their game against seventh-seeded Wayne State at 2:30 p.m. on Saturday at the Midwest Regional at Drury.
Lawrence Thomas has seen both losses, last year as USI’s point guard. “That’s why we are not looking past Wayne State,” he said. “Wayne State is like playing Duke.”
If the past is any indication, USI is playing the right team to break the losing streak. The Eagles are 7-0 all-time against Wayne State. Those wins include three victories in the Midwest Regional. One came in the 1994 regional title game and another came in the 2004 regional championship contest. Both times USI advanced to the Elite Eight and, eventually, to the national championship game (losing both times, however).