Daily Egyptian

In the War Room with Warfel: A state of affairs

By Adam Warfel, Sports Editor

Looking across all of Saluki athletics, basketball is in the second half of conference play for both men’s and women’s, softball starts this week, baseball next week, track and field have their indoor championship for the MVC at the end of the month and golf for both men’s and women’s starts the week of February 12.

So, even though the Super Bowl is over, any fan of Saluki Athletics should be excited because this is the time of year when winter sports are ending and spring sports are beginning.

Let’s start in the realm of basketball and see just how they’ve been doing – we’ll start on the men’s side.

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Saluki men’s basketball did not get off to the start in Valley play that many fans were expecting or hoping for. After winning their first two games against Missouri State and UNI, they dropped four games, including a loss to now 3-7 Bradley.

For the first time since conference play opened, the Dawgs completed a week with two straight wins with a chance to push it to three with a game against Missouri State on Wednesday.

The men have now won three out of their last four and are trending upward. A win at Missouri State on Wednesday would be a big booster for this team who still has to play the conference leaders in Loyola and Illinois State in Carbondale.

As for the women, their play in conference has been below the expectations set before them in the preseason poll where they were selected to finish fourth.

The Salukis are sitting in eighth place after going 0-2 this weekend against UNI and Drake, and with conference leader Missouri State coming up next on Friday.

Track and Field’s throwing squad has shown to be the team’s strength this season – dominating the Don Denoon Invitational this past weekend.

The men’s weight throwers themselves rank collectively as fourth in the entire NCAA. Senior Ricky Hurley is leading the way this weekend throwing for 60 feet and one quarter inches for second place in the weight throw.

On the second day of the invite, the Dawgs took home five wins with sophomore Theo Phipps winning the 60 meter hurdles, freshmen Julia Lutz winning the 200 meter dash, the women’s four by 100 relay team winning, sophomore Kyle Zeinemann winning the pole vault and senior Adam Kessler winning the shot put.

The Salukis have one more invite remaining on their schedule before going to the MVC indoor championships on Feb. 23 and 24.

Spring sports start this week as Southern softball begins their quest for another MVC title. They were picked in the preseason to finish second, they open their season at the Frost Classic in Hammond, Louisiana on February 8.

Women’s golf will be the next spring sport to kick off and will travel to Las Vegas for the Boulder Creek Invitational on February 11 and 12 as they start their chase for an MVC ring.

Baseball will begin to do their best to out perform their preseason poll positioning in the conference at fifth, as they open their season at Nicholls State in Louisiana on Feb. 15.

Southern men’s golf will also start play that weekend at the Gator Invitational, as seniors Luke Gannon and Peyton Wilhoit attempt to earn their second ring while playing at Southern.

For Saluki fans who might have a sour taste in their mouth after a rough football season in the fall where they finished 2-9, and both men’s and women’s basketball playing below levels that were expected, spring is right around the corner with four more sports set to begin.

Sports editor Adam Warfel can be reached at [email protected] or on Twitter at @warfel_adam.

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

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