BREAKING NEWS: That Kevin Dillard guy is gonna be something special

NCAA BASKETBALL: NOV 20 2K Sports Classic - Southern Illinois v Duke
SIU freshman guard Kevin Dillard has struggled of late hitting his shots.

Illinois' reigning Mr. Basketball is the Salukis' leading scorer and biggest offensive threat on the court. When he's not slashing to the hole making acrobatic lay-ups, he is a dead-eye 3-point sniper.

Yet, the youngster from Homewood, Ill., has had his shot elude him of late.

Not Wednesday, though.

KD went 8-for-15 from the field and 4-for-8 from the 3-point line as he scored 20 points ... and it wasn't enough to carry Southern to victory.

SIU fell 60-57 in overtime.

Dillard fouled out with 1:08 to play in regulation, and the lack of a true point guard (and the team's best scorer) hurt the Salukis down the stretch.

When I came to SIU in the fall of 2004, my goal was to become sports editor at the DE and cover one of those dominant Saluki hoops squads that ran roughshod over the Missouri Valley Conference.

And while this team won't win the Valley regular season, I still wouldn't be surprised if they caught lightening in a bottle.

SIU has a strong coach and some playmakers on offense. A few hot shooting nights will take you far in early March.

To be honest, I'm not even sure this team is going to make postseason play, but the future is bright. My only regret is that I won't be around to see this team be elite.

Not unless I fail out, which I'm sure my parents would appreciate.