Southern Illinois Salukis

Southern Illinois' Mike Rodriguez (1) has his shot blocked by Louisville's Mangok Mathiang (12) during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game, Wednesday, Dec. 7, 2016, in Louisville, Ky. Louisville won 74-51. Left is Louisville's Jaylen Johnson (10). (AP Photo/Timothy D. Easley)
AP Photo/Timothy D. Easley

Big men push No. 11 Louisville over Southern Illinois, 74-51

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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) — Louisville’s frontcourt led the way over an outmatched opponent.

Mangok Mathiang scored 15 points to help No. 11 Louisville to a 74-51 victory over Southern Illinois on Wednesday night.

The 6-foot-10 senior got the Cardinals (8-1) off to a hot start as he scored the team’s first seven points, and Louisville settled in from there, extending the lead 21-4 in the game’s first 8 minutes.

Sophomore Deng Adel, who finished with his first career double-double, said the team came out focused at the start.

“I think it was just our ball movement,” said the 6-7 forward, who finished with 12 points and a career-high 12 rebounds, besting the seven he grabbed against Boston College last February. “Guys were looking to run. A lot of it was easy points. We threw it into the bigs a lot. Mangok ignited that run got a couple day post-ups.”

In making six of nine shots, Mathiang finished two points shy of his career high in just 22 minutes.

As Southern Illinois (5-4) came to the Yum! Center with no one taller than 6-9, Louisville used its size to its advantage. The Cardinals blocked nine shots and outrebounded the Salukis 43-31.

Southern Illinois coach Barry Hinson said he knew there would be a bit of a shock factor in play, and he thought his team got over that as they cut the Louisville lead to 37-26 at halftime, thanks to an 8-0 run over the final 1:32. However, in the first 4 minutes of the second half, Louisville built the lead back to 18 points.

“Their length, obviously, their size bothered us, specifically in the first half,” Hinson said. “You’ve got to give credit to coach (Rick) Pitino. They went down at us. We knew they were going to.”

Jaylen Johnson, a 6-9 junior, finished with nine points, 10 rebounds and six blocks. Mathiang, Johnson, 7-footer Matz Stockman and 6-10 Ray Spalding combined to shoot 15 of 20, with all the baskets coming inside the paint.

“We have size,” Pitino said. “We throw to the low post. If they’re not doubling, then we’re going to get easy shots.”

Sean O’Brien led the Salukis with 15 points and 11 rebounds while Mike Rodriguez added 15 points.

BIG PICTURE

Southern Illinois: For the third time this season, the Salukis fell to a Power Five foe on the road and all of the losses have been by double digits. Not only could the Salukis not deal with Louisville’s size, they also failed to stretch out the Cardinals’ defense as they made just 5 of 24 3-point shots.

Louisville: For a team that has struggled at times on offense, the Cardinals looked strong in the first half. Even without Anas Mahmoud, their main big man who missed his second game because of a concussion, Louisville’s frontcourt more than held its own against the smaller Salukis. Four Cardinals who stand 6-9 or taller combined to go 8 of 10 from the field in the first half, helping the team shoot 55.2 percent in the first 20 minutes.

HE SAID IT

“I don’t think we’re great at anything. I think we’re good at a lot of things. I don’t think we’re great at anything, but we hope to get there, though . in a hurry.” Pitino, assessing his team in the post-game news conference. Two weeks from tonight, the Cardinals will host No. 6 Kentucky, starting a three-game, 10-day stretch against teams currently ranked 14th or higher.

POLL IMPLICATIONS

Louisville got out to a hot start, and while the shooting cooled to just 36.7 percent in the second half, the Cardinals still built the lead to as many as 25 points in the second half. The Cardinals did as most expected, enabling them to stay on the fringe of the Top 10, ready to re-enter should a higher ranked team fall this weekend.

UP NEXT

Southern Illinois returns home to play Sam Houston State on Saturday.

On Saturday afternoon, Louisville hosts Texas Southern, which lost 74-70 to the Salukis on Saturday.

No. 21 Wichita State runs away from Southern Illinois, 76-55

Fred VanVleet
AP Photo/Sue Ogrocki
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WICHITA, Kan. (AP) There were many reasons Southern Illinois coach Barry Hinson could point to in trying to explain how his team, tied for second in the Missouri Valley Conference, has lost to Wichita State twice this season, each time by more than 20 points.

One stood out Wednesday night after No. 21 Wichita State’s 76-55 victory over the Salukis.

“It’s their length,” Hinson said. “We just don’t run up against anybody else in our league that has that kind of length.”

Fred VanVleet had 12 points and 11 assists to lead the Shockers (17-5, 11-0 Missouri Valley) to their 12th straight victory. Shaquille Morris had a season-high 13 points and fellow center Anton Grady added 10 points for Wichita State

Anthony Beane scored 15 of his game-high 20 point in the first half for Southern Illinois (18-6, 7-4). Bola Olaniyan had seven points and 16 rebounds for the Salukis, helping them outrebound the conference’s top rebounding team 48-31.

Wichita State coach Gregg Marshall said his team’s length showed on the defensive end.

“Our defense was phenomenal, especially in the second half,” Marshall said. “That really carried the day.”

Beane, who was 3 of 10 in the first matchup against Wichita State, was hot early. He scored 10 of Southern Illinois’ first 12 points, going 4 of 5 from the field.

Beane’s hot hand helped the Salukis stay close. Tyler Smithpeters’ steal and layup cut Wichita State’s lead to 20-19 with 8:39 remaining in the first half.

The Shockers then locked down Southern Illinois. During a stretch of more than 8 minutes, the Salukis had two baskets. One was tipped in by a Shocker going for a rebound. The other was a layup by Smithpeters when he rebounded an airball all alone.

“We wanted to take them out of their offense,” VanVleet said.

Wichita State methodically went on a 14-4 run, capped by Morris’ fade-away, banked jumper for a 34-23 lead with 2:14 remaining in the half.

Wichita State led 37-28 at halftime and quickly advanced the margin into double digits. A 3 by Evan Wessel and Morris converting an alley-oop pass made it 42-28, and Southern Illinois took a timeout just 71 seconds into the half.

The Shockers made seven free throws to make it 49-31 and four straight points from Grady gave Wichita State a 53-34 lead with 14:11 to play.

“Our guards were really pounding the ball down to Shaq and me,” Grady said. “They were dropping the ball down to us and giving us good opportunities.”

Just over 6 minutes later, 3-pointers by Wessel and VanVleet pushed the lead to 64-42 with 7:57 remaining.

“I’m not going to fault our guys at all,” Hinson said. “The first game, we didn’t compete. Tonight, we fought our butts off. We just turned it over 22 times, and that will kill you.”

MARSHALL TOPS LIST

Marshall reached 221 victories, giving him more than any coach in Wichita State history. Hall of Famer Ralph Miller went 220-133 at Wichita State from 1951-64.

Marshall is 221-81 in nine seasons with the Shockers. He won 194 games in 10 seasons at Winthrop, where he is also the career leader in victories.

“It means a lot to equal a legend like Coach Miller,” Marshall said, “a guy who made basketball important here when he came from (Wichita) East High.”

STILL STREAKING

This was Wichita State’s first home game since Arizona lost to visiting Oregon on Jan. 28. That snapped the longest homecourt winning streak in the country at 49 games, giving the Shockers the current mark.

Wichita State extended it to 43 straight home victories.

TIP-INS

Southern Illinois: The Salukis have lost eight straight games against ranked opponents. The last victory was a 64-62 decision over No. 22 Wichita State on Feb. 5, 2013. . Southern Illinois entered the game averaging 76.3 points, nearly 16 more than last season.

Wichita State: The Shockers have won 19 straight regular-season conference games. . Ron Baker had 18 points on 5-of-11 shooting Jan. 9 at Southern Illinois. On Wednesday, he had nine points on 2-of-10 shooting.

UP NEXT

Southern Illinois hosts Loyola on Saturday.

Wichita State travels to Illinois State on Saturday

Coaches on the Hot Seat

of the Indiana Hoosiers during the game against the Iowa Hawkeyes at Assembly Hall on March 3, 2015 in Bloomington, Indiana.
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As we get closer to the start of the 2015-16 college basketball season, let’s take a look at the head coaches who need to have a good season in order to feel safe. While the list of coaches on CBT’s “hot seat” have had poor seasons and lost their jobs before, keep in mind that the last two No. 1 selections for this list kept their jobs the following season, including Maryland coach Mark Turgeon, who is currently thriving in College Park. 

1. Tom Crean, Indiana: Indiana enters the 2015-16 season with top-25 talent and high expectations, but Crean finds himself atop the hot seat list for failing to meet expectations at Indiana. Crean’s now entering his eighth season as the Indiana head coach, and only once in the previous seven seasons — the 2012-13 season — have the Hoosiers been good enough to be considered a true title contender. That’s not enough, but not only is Crean struggling to find the success the Hoosier fan base craves on the floor, but the dismissal of three more players this offseason hasn’t made life any easier off the floor. Indiana’s president isn’t pleased with the off-the-court developments and many prominent Indiana alums have been vocal about the Hoosiers falling below expectations. A big season would go a long way towards quieting Crean’s doubters.

2. Josh Pastner, Memphis: Much like Crean at Indiana, Pastner has achieved success but faltered compared to a passionate fan base’s expectations. Memphis missed the postseason altogether for the first time in 15 years with last season’s 18-14 record and the team’s best returning player, Austin Nichols, transferred to Virginia, following Nick King and Pookie Powell out the door. Pastner is going to rely heavily on the freshman Lawson brothers to make a postseason appearance immediately, but in a city that became accustomed to the success of John Calipari’s Tigers, will they be satisfied if we’ve already seen Peak Pastner?

3. Brian Gregory, Georgia Tech: After a 12-19 season and 14th place finish, Gregory is back for his fifth season at Georgia Tech. He’s never finished above ninth in the ACC. Gregory has coached one team to the NCAA tournament in his last 11 seasons and that came at Dayton in 2010. The local recruiting momentum is also limited for Georgia Tech under Gregory. The Yellow Jackets went 0-for-7 recruiting prospects from Georgia in the Rivals150 in the Class of 2015. In the Class of 2016, that number is 1-for-11.

4. Kevin Willard, Seton Hall: Entering his sixth season at Seton Hall, Willard has finished above .500 twice and owns a 30-60 mark in the Big East. Having never made the NCAA tournament as a head coach, the pressure is on Willard to produce even though experienced guards Sterling Gibbs and Jaren Sina both transferred out of the program.

5. John Groce, Illinois: Illinois missed the NCAA tournament in back-to-back seasons for the first time since 1992 and that isn’t sitting well with Illini fans. Groce has never finished above seventh in the Big Ten and he hasn’t been able to reel in a lot of big-named recruits that Illinois finds itself a finalist for. Transfers like Darius Paul and Aaron Cosby haven’t lasted and proved to be harmful as replacements for those missed recruits. Illinois fans expect results and Groce needs to make the NCAAs again.

MORE: 2015-16 Season Preview Coverage | Conference Previews | Preview Schedule

Illinois head coach John Groce (Getty Images)
Illinois head coach John Groce (Getty Images)

6. Barry Hinson, Southern Illinois: The once proud Southern Illinois program has had to endure Hinson’s three-year tenure. He’s thrown his own players under the bus during a postgame press conference and publicly remarked about his job security this spring. The Salukis own a 40-57 record and 19-35 mark in conference play under Hinson and he lost five transfers this offseason, three of them freshmen.

7. Donnie Jones, UCF: UCF was successful in Conference USA, but its been a rough back-to-back stretch for the program. Jones has never made the NCAA tournament and his 2010-11 wins were vacated for using ineligible players. Jones was also suspended three CUSA games and the program put on probation. Now he’s 25-36 overall and 9-27 in the American the last two seasons.

8. Travis Ford, Oklahoma State: It’s never a good sign when the team’s athletic director and biggest public booster, T. Boone Pickens, publicly have to back Travis Ford, which is precisely what happened in Stillwater this offseason. It’s a far worse sign that Ford owns no NCAA tournament wins since 2009 despite recruiting McDonald’s All-Americans like LeBryan Nash and Marcus Smart, who both played for multiple seasons.

9. Dave Rice, UNLV: Rice has proven to be a formidable force on the recruiting trail, but that success has yet to translate on the Thomas and Mack Center court, as the Rebs have missed the last two NCAA tournaments. Rice was feeling the heat a little bit this offseason when rumors of Ben Howland looking at UNLV began swirling, but Howland is now at Mississippi State and Rice landed hometown McDonald’s All-American Stephen Zimmerman. Rice still doesn’t own any NCAA tournament wins, and with yet another talented recruiting class, he needs a strong season.

10. Kim Anderson, Missouri: Anderson’s first season at Mizzou was a disaster as the team went 9-23 and 3-15 in the SEC. It’s not looking much better in the future as the Tigers lost some key pieces — namely Jonathan Williams III and Teki Gill-Cesear — to transfer.

Nevada gets commitment from transfer forward from Southern Illinois

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Nevada landed a commitment from an impact Missouri Valley Conference freshman last season as forward Jordan Caroline will transfer from Southern Illinois.

The 6-foot-7 Caroline announced his transfer on Twitter.

As a freshman, Caroline was a very productive player in the Valley, averaging 25 minutes per game while averaging 9.2 points and 6.2 rebounds per game. Caroline also shot 44 percent from the field, and got to the free-throw line 153 times, making 66 percent of them.

After sitting out the 2015-16 season due to NCAA transfer restrictions, Caroline will have three seasons of eligibility remaining. He is a solid addition for new head coach Eric Musselman and gives the Wolfpack a likely rotation player and potential starter once he is done sitting out next season.

2014-15 Season Preview: How does Wichita State follow its two-year stretch?

Ron Baker
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Beginning on October 3rd and running up until November 14th, the first day of the season, College Basketball Talk will be unveiling the 2014-2015 NBCSports.com college hoops preview package.

Today, we are rolling out our Missouri Valley Conference preview.

MORE: 2014-2015 Season Preview Coverage | Conference Previews | Preview Schedule

The Missouri Valley has seen plenty of success in the NCAA Tournament over the last 10 years, but nothing like Wichita State‘s run to the Final Four followed by a 35-game winning streak to start the season.

The Shockers had a tremendous two-year run and return a lot of talent, including one of the nation’s best backcourts in juniors Fred Van Vleet and Ron Baker and senior Tekele Cotton. Gregg Marshall’s ballclub also has a deep group of newcomers and senior Darius Carter should step up inside after some flashes of strong play last season as a junior.

The team that can challenge Wichita State the most could be Northern Iowa.

Ben Jacobsen’s group returns 91 percent of the scoring and rebounding from last season’s 10-8 MVC team including all-league first team forward Seth Tuttle, a 6-foot-8 senior. Senior point guard Deon Mitchell, junior shooting guard Matt Bohannon and junior Wes Washpun are all back on the perimeter and the front court has some depth as well. This team is deep enough to contend for postseason consideration.

Illinois State had minimal experience entering last season and won 18 games. Now the Redbirds have six new players, four junior-college transfers and return the senior starting backcourt of Daishon Knight and Bobby Hunter as well as center Reggie Lynch. Paris Lee also returns at point guard and this year’s team should have more depth and athleticism.

Returning for Missouri State is 2013 Conference Freshman of the Year Marcus Marshall, who should give the Bears a huge boost. The 6-foot-3 Marshall averaged 14.3 points per game in 12 games last season before going down to injury. Sophomore shooting guard Austin Ruder can shoot from the outside and the team has some junior college forwards that should compete in the rotation.

Evansville returns all five starters from a team that finished 6-12 last season. But those starters gained valuable experience and 6-foot-2 junior guard D.J. Balentine averaged 22.8 points per game last season. Junior big man Egidijus Mockevicius averaged 10.5 points and 8.3 rebounds per game on 62 percent shooting. The team also gets more depth on the bench in recruiting and should have some scoring punch.

After making the MVC Tournament championship game, Indiana State only returns senior forward Justin Gant, but MVC Sixth Man of the Year Khristian Smith returns and will rely on a lot of inexperienced or new pieces to perform on the perimeter.

Some talent is in place at Bradley, which adds Illinois transfer Mike Shaw and top-100 forward Josh Cunningham to the roster, but the Braves are mostly unproven and Geno Ford has only one winning season in three in Peoria.

PRESEASON MISSOURI VALLEY CONFERENCE PLAYER OF THE YEAR: Ron Baker, Wichita State

Baker averaged 13.1 points, 3.8 rebounds and 3.1 assists per game last season as one of the most complete two-guards in the nation. Tremendously efficient, as a sophomore, the 6-foot-3 Baker shot 45 percent from the field, 38 percent from the three-point line and 84 percent from the free-throw line. He’s been a starter for two straight great teams.

THE REST OF THE PRESEASON ALL-MVC TEAM:

  • Fred Van Vleet, Wichita State – The 5-foot-11 junior is one of the best floor leaders in the country, averaging 11.6 points, 5.4 assists and 3.9 rebounds per game last season.
  • Seth Tuttle, Northern Iowa – The 6-foot-8 senior is coming off of a first-team all-league season in which he averaged 15.4 points and 8 rebounds per game in 2013-14.
  • D.J. Balentine, Evansville – The nation’s seventh leading scorer at 22.8 points returns for his junior season. The 6-foot-2 guard can fill it up.
  • Anthony Beane, Southern Illinois – Another 6-foot-2 junior, Beane moved to point guard and thrived last season and averaged 14.7 points per game on 47 percent shooting.

ONE TWITTER FEED TO FOLLOW: @ValleyHoops

PREDICTED FINISH

1. Wichita State
2. Northern Iowa
3. Illinois State
4. Missouri State
5. Evansville
6. Indiana State
7. Bradley
8. Drake
9. Loyola
10. Southern Illinois

Southern Illinois reinstates sophomore guard

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In 2013-14 6-foot-3 guard Tyler Smithpeters started 12 of the 28 games in which he played last season, posting averages of 4.8 points and 1.3 rebounds per game. Unfortunately for Smithpeters any plans of him earning more opportunities in 2014-15 were put on hold earlier this month, as he was reportedly suspended for a violation of the school’s student code of conduct policy.

Wednesday the basketball program announced that the sophomore has been reinstated by the basketball program and is now practicing, according to Todd Hefferman of The Southern Illinoisan. The basketball program issued the following statement on Smithpeters’ updated status:

“Southern Illinois University men’s basketball head coach Barry Hinson announced today that sophomore guard Tyler Smithpeters has rejoined team practices. Earlier in the week, Hinson told local media that Smithpeters was not practicing with the team while dealing with a personal matter. University privacy guidelines prohibit Hinson from making further comments related to the nature of Smithpeters’ recent absence from the team.”

Smithpeters rejoining the program comes one day after he was allowed to resume attending classes on campus. Southern Illinois, which finished the 2013-14 season with a 14-19 record (9-9 Missouri Valley), returns two of its top three scorers from last season in guards Anthony Beane Jr. (14.7 ppg, 3.2 rpg) and Jalen Pendleton (9.1, 3.5).

The Salukis will have to account for the loss of Desmar Jackson, who accounted for 18.6 points, 5.5 rebounds and 2.4 steals per contest as a redshirt senior.