Always entertaining, Southern Illinois coach Barry Hinson discussed Wednesday’s game against UE in Carbondale, Ill., during today’s Missouri Valley coaches teleconference.
The Salukis (9-15, 2-11) have come on strong in their last two games to beat Wichita State last Tuesday and dropped a 66-65 decision at Indiana State on Saturday.
“I can certainly say this: (UE) may be singing the blues a little bit losing five out of seven, but we’re talking about an entire season for us,” Hinson said. “You look at how our team responded…Our kids have just stayed the course, and though our record doesn’t show it I told our kids all along that we’re going to grade you on attitude and effort. Marty (Simmons) and them, they’re sitting here in the middle of the race. We know where we’re going to finish. It doesn’t matter if we win the rest of our league games. We’re going to be in 10th place. We know where we are, and we’ve just got to try and get better every day. The kids have bought into that. At this time of the year when you don’t really have a lot of hope other than your conference tournament, I’ve got to brag on them. I think they’ve been more than responsive but what we’ve asked them do to.”
Hinson on facing UE, which beat his team 85-68 on Jan. 5 at the Ford Center: “Oh, they play great defense. I was just telling my staff this morning that after watching film of them the last two days, they probably guard as well as anybody in the league as far as getting up in your shorts and getting after it. Then of course Colt (Ryan), it’s like (the movie) Paranormal Activity. I’m on the edge of my seat every time he catches the basketball, and the same goes for (Ned) Cox. Marty’s done a good job. He’s always done a good job. I joked around about this – said it for years – but whenever you play Evansville, the bus driver sets a back screen on you. It’s just constant screening. Constant movement. And I promise you, watching them on film is like watching Paranormal Activity. You just sit there in fear the whole time. This is not a good matchup for us. We don’t really play well against teams that are in constant motion and really cerebral. We’re not a real cerebral team. I don’t know if you guys have figured that out yet. I hope we play well, and we actually get to play in a place that we don’t normally get to play. It’s at home, and we’re excited about that.”
As a 90.2 percent free throw shooter, UE senior Colt Ryan is seventh nationally in the statistic. “First of all, I think Colt is a lot like Jake (Odum) is at Indiana State,” Hinson said. “If you look at our free throw attempts, going into the Indiana State game (Desmar Jackson) had shot 94 free throws for the year – the entire year – 23 games. Jake had shot 93, and you look at Colt, and he’s shot 90 in conference…So you’re talking about a guy who gets to the line all the time. Not just him, but everybody. You go down the line and look at their free throw percentages. Good gracious. They’re shooting 79 percent from the free throw line. We don’t even know what 79 is. That’s not even on our calculator here. Because they’re constant movement, they get fouled a lot.”
How does UE get to the line? It’s in the Aces’ DNA, Hinson said: “I’ve said this before, and I’ll say it again: If you’re a basketball player and you’re born in the state of Indiana, when you come out of your mother’s womb then you do a shot fake. If you are born in any other of the 49 states, when you come out of your mother’s womb the first thing you do is jump. I think that’s just the way it is in Indiana.”
It’s been since Feb. 24, 2001 that UE beat the Salukis in Carbondale. The Aces have since lost 11 in a row there entering Wednesday. “I didn’t know the statistic, but I hope that trend continues,” Hinson said. “I’m serious. I hope it continues. I hope that there’s witch doctors that are standing here out in the driveway when they pull up that bother them. I hope there are superstition issues. I hope they don’t pack their lucky socks. Whatever. I don’t care.”