Men's Basketball preps for upcoming games with Green Bay and New Orleans

    TJs will sponsor a diamond hunt during Monday's game versus UNO.

    TJs will sponsor a diamond hunt during Monday's game versus UNO.
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    Dec. 11, 2012

    CARBONDALE, Ill. - Saluki men's basketball head coach Barry Hinson met with the media on Tuesday before practice. The Salukis (4-2) are in the midst of finals week, but are preparing to play five games in eight days starting on Saturday at Green Bay (3-5).

    Next Monday, the Salukis will play their only home game of the month of December when they host New Orleans (2-5) at 7:05 p.m. TJ's Fine Jewelry is the game sponsor and one lucky fan will be selected to participate in a diamond hunt on the court. The contestant will be blindfolded and given direction from the crowd. The diamond earrings will be at least .75 carat., and if the crowd is more than 5,000, the prize will be a full carat.

    Coach Hinson press conference transcript

    Can you comment on the announcement about the end of BracketBusters after this season?

    I'm very disappointed. I think the loss of BracketBusters for all mid-major programs in the country right now, I think it's a tragedy. Cinderella made the ball, and now we're taking backward steps. I think we ought to have college basketball get the ball, have a prom and everybody wear their pajamas, cause that's basically what it is, and it's ridiculous. We have a hard enough time getting a schedule. The problem right now is conference realignment, the fight for the almighty buck is slipping down to our level, and it's detrimental. I look at this as a great opportunity for places like NBC, CBS, who knows, Fox, maybe they open their own BracketBuster. One of the problems we ran into is BracketBusters was great when we limited the amount of people that could play in it. We started allowing everybody in it and watered it down and became a bad day.

    Were you a fan of the format?

    I've always been an advocate of BracketBuster because I've been on the side where you couldn't get anybody to play. The format was great, because if you needed help with your RPI or a quality game late down the stretch, you had the opportunity. I loved it. I thought it was great for the mid-major. It was one day when all eyes in college basketball were focused on the little guy.



    Do you think we're through with conference realignment?

    I don't think there's any question we're not through yet. I think conference realignment is headed our way and I wouldn't be surprised if it runs over the Missouri Valley (Conference). I don't have any predictions there, other than how could you not have a lot of conference realignment going on. I read an article today that the A-10 is now looking at the Big East. It's a problem right now in college athletics. We need to get settled in.

    How do you get back on the winning side of close games?

    You make shots at the end. We've lost some close games, but down the stretch, the kids did what we asked them to do and we got great shots. It would be something else if we were in close games and can't finish and can't get good shots, turn the ball over, can't get stops. We got stops, ran our offense and got great shots. We can't ask for any more than that. I'm really happy with our team right now with executing at the latter part of the game.

    How important is it to finish non-conference strong?

    I visited with our basketball team about it yesterday. People are always asking me, what are our expectations? My expectations are when you walk on the floor, you try to win every game you play. Most importantly, if you want to have a decent showing in the Missouri Valley, you have to have some wave of excitement and self-esteem and a higher level coming out of non-conference. We're getting ready to find out where we are, because we're going to play five games in eight days. It's sad, because we had this schedule right before us when we got here, and it really wasn't a great schedule. You couldn't catch momentum. You beat Fresno, have a little bit of momentum, when can we see you play again? You can't see us play for another 2-3 weeks. That's hard.

    What does this long rest mean for your team?

    It's a much-needed, not rest, but we needed help academically. This was a chance for us to get back in the groove of things academically, because it's well-documented we have some issues. We need to make sure we come through this strong this semester. The other side of the coin is we need time to practice, time to put in our system. We're really a vanilla-basic offense right now, and this gives us an opportunity to get better.

    What effect does having one home game this month have on you?

    I think it has a huge effect. I think it affects a lot of areas. We don't get the energy from our home crowd. It has a lot of effect on our home crowd. We had a lot of excitement coming out of Fresno, and I hope we haven't lost that. I know our fans typically, from what everybody tells me, they all come out after the holidays and like to come out for the Valley games. We have to change that. We're trying to change that with our schedule we're putting together for next year and get a little bit of momentum with our home court.

    What's the biggest challenge of finals week?

    Our biggest challenge is to make good grades. We've not done a good job academically. Let's get through this semester and give us maybe a little bit of leeway, a little bit of leverage going into the spring semester, specifically with some of the guys who are struggling. All of the sudden we have something to bank on. Specifically with those three seniors that we get something that we can get into the spring semester where they have light at the end of the tunnel and know they can graduate.

    How deceiving is Green Bay's 3-5 record?

    If we were to play Green Bay's schedule, we would most likely have a very similar record. The thing that's deceiving about them is they are undefeated at home. Any time we play somebody who starts 6-9, 6-10, and a 7-foot-1 guy, I don't know if you've seen our lineup, they're just a little bit taller than me. I don't know if you know this, I'm not very tall. I'm 5-foot-8 and we have a lot guys running around who are almost my height or just a little bit above. It's Great Dane versus Chihuahua.

    What kind of complications does Alec Brown give you?

    The thing that's complicating about him is he's their best 3-point shooter. He's 7-foot-1 and shooting 50 percent from three. I really would like to have one of those guys. Matter of fact, if you guys see Santa Claus, and you see a 7-foot-1 guy who can make threes, make sure Santa knows that's what Coach Hinson would like to have.

    Will the layoff affect you at Green Bay?

    We have to get off to a great start. Hopefully, we will. That all depends. You're going to an area that's cold and you're unfamiliar with. You haven't played in so many days, you've just come off of finals. I've always said, if you want to play a team, always play them right after finals. There's great upset weeks, the week after Hawaii and the weekend after finals. That's when upsets happen.

    How do you challenge Jeff Early?

    The one thing we challenge Jeff on is execute what we do. We never have to challenge his effort. He's the Energizer bunny rabbit on Mountain Dew. He's ready to go from the moment we start practice and we feed off of that. The challenges right now are what he's limited to -- he's 6-foot-2 trying to guard 6-foot-10. That's going to be the challenge for him all year long, he has to guard guys that are eight, nine, 10 inches taller than him.

    With how well he and Desmar are playing, can you continue to win games without an established inside presence?

    No. We have to score. You saw what happened at Western Kentucky. We did not capitalize when we got the ball inside. We have to have output from our big guys. Our big-guy output right now is Dantiel Daniels, Davante Drinkard and Antonio Bryer. We have to get output from those guys. Two points and four rebounds in one half isn't good enough for us to win ballgames.