Men's Basketball renews rivalry with Murray State on Tuesday night

    Barry Hinson

    Barry Hinson
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    Dec. 16, 2013

    CARBONDALE, Ill. - Southern Illinois renews its rivalry with Murray State on Tuesday night in Murray, Ky. SIU leads the all-time series, 16-14, and has won 11 of the last 14 meetings, but the teams have not met since 2006.

    The last time SIU played at MSU was on Dec. 28, 2005. In that game, the Salukis held the Racers to one basket during an eight-minute stretch at the end of the game to rally for a 57-53 victory. Jamaal Tatum led Southern with 17 points.

    Southern Illinois (2-7) at Murray State (4-5)
     Date Tuesday, Dec. 17, 2013
     Time 7:00 p.m. CT
     Location Murray, Ky. - CFSB Center (8,600)
     Radio Saluki Sports Network
     TV None
     Video Stream OVC Digital Network
     Game Notes Southern Illinois Get Acrobat Reader
     Live Stats Stat Broadcast
     Social Media @SIU_Basketball

    SIU head coach Barry Hinson met with the media on Monday morning

    What are your thoughts on renewing the regional rivalry with Murray State?

    I can't speak much to the rivalry because I wasn't a part of that. I think it's important we play as many regional teams as we can. We're limited somewhat by the Missouri Valley Conference guidelines and restrictions on scheduling based on RPI. That doesn't have anything to do with Murray, because this is one of the winningest programs in the last 20 years. It's quite a task for us, a little bit of a gamble on our side. They probably welcome it because our program is not at the level we'd like for it to be right now. Of the two parties, I think Murray is extremely happy about this and we are not quite as happy.

    How do you think you'll be able to handle the environment on the road?

    Our biggest challenge right now is us. It doesn't have anything to do with who we're playing. Our opponent is between our ears. Mentally right now, we're not as strong as what we should be. When you're 2-7, you don't bring a lot of confidence. I think we'll be a much better basketball team with Bronson (Verhines) on the floor. Now will that dictate wins, I can't answer that question.

    How mobile do you think Bronson will be and will he start?

    He won't start and he won't be very mobile. What he'll be is a threat that you have to guard. Right now, we don't have an interior player who is a threat. When the ball goes to him, at least you have to guard him, and you can't foul him because he's a good free throw shooter. Defensively, he's playing better than our other big guys. There's no question in my mind that if we'd had Bronson in these games, we would have won some ballgames. We lost by two, three and four points and Bronson would have given us those points back.

    How do you feel you match up with Murray State?

    They don't have a problem in the depth department the way we do. We're seven-deep, maybe eight if we get lucky. We really need to get to where we're nine if we can.

    You work with the bigs -- how much have Bola (Olaniyan) and Davante (Drinkard) improved in the last week?

    We've worked a lot with them, and I'd like to say some of those guys have improved, but we've made great improvement in some areas and no improvements in other areas. That's where Bronson will give us some edge. With Bronson being back in the fold, now they have to hook up every day in practice. You'll see in the ballgame on Tuesday night, that if you don't have a good practice you're going to sit over on the bench by me. We're going to make sure the guys we put on the floor are going to compete. If you go out on the floor and don't compete, we're going to bring you right back and let you sit and watch the ballgame.

    Their team is young and inexperienced -- do you see similarities with your team?

    I don't see any similarities between their program and our program right now. I don't know a lot about Steve's ball club other than what I've seen on film. The only thing I know about Murray State is their tradition and their history and their winning percentages. They've had 26-consecutive winning seasons. They're completely opposite of the spectrum where we are. We have to get back to where we were in the early 2000s.

    You have outscored teams in points in the paint. Can that continue and do you need more from that?

    Our bigs have got to score and be a threat. It's a catch-22. There's not a lot of confidence for the guards to throw it inside, and when the bigs get it, they're going to put up a shot because they never get to touch it. We have a little bit of a trust factor going on between the bigs and the guards. You have to be able to score around the basket and get fouled. If you can't then those guys who are driving, people are just going to start zoning us. Our offensive numbers are the best since 1987-88. Offense isn't our problem right now. The only problem we're having on offense is we're ninth in assists and ninth in turnovers, and we can't shoot free throws and we can't shoot threes. We've got to figure out a way to stop people and get stops and right now we don't compete long enough to get four, five stops in a row.

    How much zone are you expecting to play?

    With Bronson back, we can go a little bit further and extend ourselves a bit and play some man, but if we're not going to compete any harder than what we do, it doesn't matter what we do defensively. We just have to find guys who want to guard.