Men's Basketball hosts Bradley in MVC home opener on Wednesday night

    Dantiel Daniels will be out two weeks with an ankle sprain.

    Dantiel Daniels will be out two weeks with an ankle sprain.
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    Jan. 1, 2013

    CARBONDALE, Ill. - Southern Illinois (7-5, 0-1) will host Bradley (9-4, 1-0) in a Missouri Valley Conference game at SIU Arena on Wednesday at 7:05 p.m.

    Both teams will be without the services of their starting centers. SIU is without Dantiel Daniels, who sprained an ankle versus Missouri State on Sunday, while Bradley announced today that Will Egolf has been suspended.

    Game NotesGet Acrobat Reader

    Head coach Barry Hinson met with the media prior to Tuesday's morning practice.

    What are your thoughts on playing five guards?

    Well, we've only had one practice and I was very encouraged by how our guys came back. It was a loss to the guys. It was a devastating loss to me. The one great thing about kids is they're so resilient. We know they can't stay focused a long time, because we coach them every day. They can't focus on losses, either, and that's a good thing as well. I think we have some good things going on. The one good thing is we get to come home and play. We haven't played at home in such a long time, and that will help us a tremendous amount. It's going to be different. We already had challenges, we had challenges all year long. I don't think we've gone a week yet, not one week yet, where we haven't had something that's popped up that's been big. We just have to get through that. We have to find some way to get some consistency. If we can get there, I think we can settle in and be a decent ball club.

    How do you rebound with this lineup (without Dantiel Daniels)?

    I think the biggest thing is we have to get guys to miss shots first. In our defense, and I'll say this about the Missouri State game, this was a team that shot 25 percent from the 3-point line, and our game plan the entire time was to make them shoot from the perimeter. You can't switch in midstream, when you've had four of five practices in a row, and then all of the sudden, you lose your big guy inside, and you pressure outside, and they start going inside. It was a very difficult game for us. In our players' defense, I didn't think our defense was overall that bad, they just made shots, which in 12 games, they had not made shots at all. The kid that went 5-for-5 was their worst 3-point shooter. That's just how basketball goes sometimes. Because of all the stuff that happened during the game, we just couldn't make adjustments.

    How do you avoid the players doing too much with the deficit of personnel?

    We talk individually, we talk as a group, we met yesterday for two-and-a-half hours. We watched film, we met, we practiced, we had individual conferences. I think one of the things I've said all year long is we just have to battle these guys every day, not only battle, but teach every day. Everybody talks about how (Missouri State) was a young program. I saw a stat that said they're one of the youngest teams in the country. Well, we're one of the youngest teams in the country because most of these guys have played for either one, two or three coaches in the last three years, and I'm the third or fourth coach for a lot of these guys. Everything that we're doing is brand new. Everything from the way we travel, from the way we eat, from the way we act, from the way we coach, from the way we play, from the way we teach. For these guys to come in and sit in a two-hour film session, for some of them, they've never done that before. We constantly do it and we're going to continue to teach and constantly get better.

    Are you having to motivate them every day?

    Motivation is always from within yourself. Motivation is hard when you get your butt whipped. It's hard for everybody, including the coaches, but you have to take a step back, look at the big picture and say this is what we want to do, this is what we want to get. Coach (Dean) Smith at North Carolina taught me a long time ago, he says it's never as good as it seems, and it's never as bad as it seems. He just said you have to wake up every day. I took something from Dean Smith the other night. I walked in that locker room, and I was very, very upset, extremely upset, and I walked in the locker room and took Coach Smith's advice, walked in the locker room and said let's watch the film tomorrow, everybody shower, get on board the bus and we'll talk about this tomorrow, and I let it go. It gave me 17-18 hours to at least collect my thoughts before I go in and do something or say something off the cuff that I would regret later.

    What is Dantiel's timetable?

    I'm not a doctor, but what the medical staff is telling me right now is he will be out for two weeks. However, they're going to try to be as aggressive as they can be to get him back. He will not play, without question, against Bradley. He's on crutches. There's no way I think he'll play against Evansville, and I don't see him playing against Wichita State, either. The x-ray was negative.

    And it's a new year?

    It is a new year, I'm often reminded of that. My wife told me the day after Missouri State that the sun actually came up. We take, as coaches sometimes, we take losses hard. I especially take them really hard. I understand what we're dealing with here. Let's get one thing straight, guys. I think everybody needs to know this. I prepare to win every game. Whether we get beat or whether we lose, I'm upset. I expect to win every game we play, no matter who the competition is, no matter when it is, no matter what the circumstances are, whether we have players, we don't have players, we have suspensions, we have sickness, I don't care, I plan and coach to win every game. I'm never going to walk off the floor with a moral victory and say, well we played close tonight. I just can't do that. It's not my makeup. I can't do it. I expect to win Wednesday night without Dantiel, with guys being suspended, with guys being sick, I just expect that our guys will come out and play hard. I hope our fans expect that, too. I know they do. I expect our fans to be just like they were at Fresno State. It's Valley time. There's not a lot going on right now. The Christmas sales are over, all the bargains are gone. They were gone on the 26th. We've had bad weather, but it's a great time to get in here. Last time I checked, it was 72 degrees inside.

    What does Bradley do best?

    I think their confidence is at an all-time high. They're exactly where we were a year ago, but they've gotten over the hump a little bit faster than we have. The one thing Bradley has right now is they've settled in, they play seven guys, they know what they do, and those seven guys are very comfortable. We have to try to find a way to get them out of their comfort zone, and that's going to be very difficult for us right now, because we don't have a lot of depth.

    It wouldn't be Saluki Basketball without some drama?

    I go back, you guys help me with this, have we had one week where we had nothing happen, where it's drama-free? We haven't had one week since the Thursday after the National Championship game when I arrived here, we've not gone one week without drama. My New Year's wish is we could go without drama for an extended period of time.

    Do you kind of say, what next?

    I'm pretty numb right now to anything that might happen. We've pretty much gone the wringer and seen it all. In our players' defense, they're still practicing hard. We have had a lot of things happen to us. I go back, I'm not about excuses, I'm not about drama. It's happened, ok, I expect to win. If I have to suit you guys up Wednesday night, you're going to have to get in a stance and get a stop. If I have to pull somebody out of the stands, I'll tell them to play unselfish, play hard and play smart. That's what I expect.

    Is this the most drama you've had in any year?

    It's the most drama I've had in the collection of 32 years combined. You can take all 31 years I've coached prior to this, add up everything, and we couldn't even get close to what's happened this year. Bryan Gumbel says it all the time, it is what it is.

    Will you start Davante (Drinkard)?

    It will be Davante or Josh (Swan). That will change from game to game. I'm a great pitcher's coach, I'm going to let my pitcher get in there and work and work his way out of his troubles. I like consistent lineups. I don't like having different lineups all over the place. I came back from Utah and told you guys I was extremely unhappy with Kendal (Brown-Surles) - challenged him. He took the challenge. I thought Kendal Brown played fairly well at Missouri State. I thought that was one of his better games.