Daily Egyptian

Dawg talk with Dodd: Bell not satisfied with 2017-18 basketball season

SIU+mens+baskebtall+head+coach+Barry+Hinson+reacts+after+looking+at+the+score+board+Saturday%2C+Nov.+18%2C+2017%2C+during+the+Salukis%27+69-64+win+against+the+University+of+Illinois+Springfield+Prairie+Stars+at+SIU+Arena.+%28Brian+Mu%C3%B1oz+%7C+%40BrianMMunoz%29
SIU mens baskebtall head coach Barry Hinson reacts after looking at the score board Saturday, Nov. 18, 2017, during the Salukis' 69-64 win against the University of Illinois Springfield Prairie Stars at SIU Arena. (Brian Muñoz | @BrianMMunoz)

SIU mens baskebtall head coach Barry Hinson reacts after looking at the score board Saturday, Nov. 18, 2017, during the Salukis' 69-64 win against the University of Illinois Springfield Prairie Stars at SIU Arena. (Brian Muñoz | @BrianMMunoz)

Brian Muñoz | @BrianMMunoz

Brian Muñoz | @BrianMMunoz

SIU mens baskebtall head coach Barry Hinson reacts after looking at the score board Saturday, Nov. 18, 2017, during the Salukis' 69-64 win against the University of Illinois Springfield Prairie Stars at SIU Arena. (Brian Muñoz | @BrianMMunoz)

By Nathan Dodd, Sports Editor

Tommy Bell, SIU’s Director of Athletics, appears to be at the end of his rope when it comes to the current state of the men’s basketball program.

In his monthly newsletter released on March 31, Bell addressed his pleasure with the Salukis’ best finish in the MVC since the 2006-07 campaign. However, he expressed his displeasure with the lack of postseason appearances in the past decade.

Bell pointed out that only SIU, Bradley and Evansville remain as the lone MVC programs without an appearance in the NIT or NCAA Tournaments in the last 10 years.

Advertisement

Despite a second-place finish in the MVC behind Loyola, who recently advanced to the Final Four of March Madness, the Salukis stayed home in Carbondale this March.

In recent seasons, the Salukis declined invites to less prestigious tournaments such as the CIT and/or CBI. With those respective tourneys requiring payment to play and a guarantee on ticket sales — and with Saluki Athletics running on a deficit of millions of dollars — the opportunities were not feasible.

Personally, I would have loved to see the Salukis accept a bid into a lesser tournament as a means to gain some sort of national recognition and a stepping stone toward fiercer competition.

This past season gave me the most excitement and most hope that any SIU team has done since the NCAA teams of the mid-2000’s, mostly because there was a true chance to win the MVC.

Now, people of Southern Illinois are teeing off on Saluki basketball and calling for the head of coach Barry Hinson following his second 20-win season in the past three years.

Amongst them, subtly, might be Hinson’s employer, Tommy Bell.

“Therefore, after much deliberation and consultation, I make the following statement about the future of Saluki Basketball – our sole objective in 2019 is to win a conference championship and advance to the NCAA Tournament,” Bell said in bold font in the March 31 newsletter.

Bell said that the current coaching staff has all of the resources necessary to make the dream of an NCAA Tournament appearance a reality in 2019.

When I read Bell’s letter, it seemed almost too simple to read between the lines. Bell received an influx of negative mail from SIU fans calling for the firing of Hinson.

Now it seems that the athletic department is giving Hinson an ultimatum: reach the postseason or find a new job.

With starters such as Armon Fletcher, Kavion Pippen and Sean Lloyd returning, the Salukis should have high expectations for next season. However, Loyola who will return multiple starters that will be on a mission to defend the title.

In order to take the next step forward, the Salukis will embark on a foreign trip that will allow for extra weeks of practice and competition in the summer.

Bell said that he is personally going to assist the coaching staff with the 2018-19 schedule in an effort to secure more games against teams in the nation’s Top 100. Scheduling that caliber of opponent will be the easy part, however, execution will be key to build a respectable RPI.

The Salukis have the talent to make a strong run in 2019 with its core of upperclassmen and exciting talent on the way in.

This will be the last run that most of Hinson’s lineup gets to make and if they leave SIU without a postseason appearance, it appears that Hinson may be on the way out with them.

Sports editor Nathan Dodd can be reached at [email protected] or on Twitter at @NathanMDodd.

To stay up to date with all your SIU sports news, follow the Daily Egyptian on Facebook and Twitter.

Advertisement

Leave a Comment

If you want a picture to show with your comment, go get a gravatar.




The student news site of Southern Illinois University