Local college hoops 2016-17 preview: Illinois State

Associated Press

Local college hoops 2016-17 preview: Illinois State

2015-16 results: Illinois State finished tied for second-place in the Missouri Valley Conference last season as they were 18-14 and 12-6 in the league. But the Redbirds ended the season in disappointing fashion, losing three out of four games, including their opening game of Arch Madness. The losses to Northern Iowa, Wichita State and Indiana State showed a program that is still one step away from being among the Valley's elite.

Players to watch: Senior guard Paris Lee returns to lead Illinois State as he remains one of the best two-way guards in the conference. The former Proviso East product averaged 11.1 points, 3.7 assists and 1.1 steals per game as a junior. Junior forwards MiKyle McIntosh (10.9 ppg, 4.8 rpg) and Deontae Hawkins (10.3 ppg, 5.8 rpg) also returns and that trio gives Illinois State one of the best core groups in the Valley this season.

[RELATED: Local college hoops 2016-17 preview - Loyola]

Key storylines: Finding a big man could be a huge key to this season as the Redbirds have plenty of capable guards, wings and forwards. A healthy sophomore year from 7-footer David Ndiaye should help with that problem.

Newcomers to track: Two junior college transfers should help provide depth this season. Phil Fayne is a 6-foot-9 forward with three years of eligibility left as he shot 62 percent from the floor at Western Nebraska Community College. Junior D.J. Clayton is a 6-foot-6 wing who gives additional scoring as well.

Season outlook: With a strong trio of leaders and reinforcements providing depth, Illinois State is looking to make the postseason in 2016-17, with the hope being to compete for a NCAA tournament spot. The reign of Fred VanVleet and Ron Baker is over as Wichita State tries to transition into a new era and Northern Iowa lost plenty of talent from an NCAA tournament team as well so it could be an interesting year in the Valley.

DePaul extends contract of women's basketball head coach Doug Bruno through 2023-24


DePaul extends contract of women's basketball head coach Doug Bruno through 2023-24

One of the icons of DePaul athletics is sticking around.

Monday, DePaul extended the contract of women's basketball head coach Doug Bruno through the 2023-24 season. Bruno just wrapped up his 32nd season as head coach of his alma mater, leading DePaul to its 16th consecutive NCAA Tournament.

While the Blue Demons were eliminated in the Round of 32 this March, Bruno has led the program to the Sweet 16 three of the last eight seasons.

“I am so thankful to be working at a great institution like DePaul,” Bruno said in a press release. “I never would have been here without coach Ray Meyer who gave me a basketball scholarship, Frank McGrath and Gene Sullivan who hired me in the 1970s."

Behind Bruno, DePaul went 27-8 in 2017-18, winning its fifth-straight Big East regular-season title. The Blue Demons also won their third Big East Tournament title in five years, defeating rival Marquette 98-63. Bruno also picked up his 700th career victory in February, defeating conference-foe Butler 86-68.

“I’ve been fortunate to have great assistant coaches through all the years,” he said. “My current staff is absolutely one of the best in the country.

"Most important, the reason you succeed is the players. I’ve been blessed to have tremendous student-athletes help build the DePaul women’s basketball legacy.

“I am excited about this contract extension because we still have work to do. As proud as we are of everything we have achieved, our expectation through the length of this extension is to take the Blue Demons to even higher places.”


Loyola rewards Porter Moser with multi-year contract extension


Loyola rewards Porter Moser with multi-year contract extension

Loyola is rewarding Porter Moser for his basketball team's success this season.

Loyola and Moser have agreed to a multi-year contract extension, the team announced Wednesday. The deal is through the 2025-26 season.

"We are excited to be able to announce a new contract for Porter that will keep him at Loyola a long time," Loyola Director of Athletics Steve Watson said. "He is the perfect fit for Loyola and operates his program the right way, with student-athletes who achieve excellence on the court and in the classroom and are also excellent representatives of the institution.

"We are fortunate to work at a university like Loyola, that values and has made a commitment to athletics. It is nice to reward Porter not just for an outstanding season, but also for the job he has done during his time here."

That's a well-deserved extension for a head coach who led the Ramblers to a NCAA Tournament for the first time since 1985.

As the 11th seed, Loyola exceeded all expectations, shocking the world with a Final Four appearance. The Ramblers took down No. 6 Miami, No. 3 Tennessee, No. 7 Nevada, and No. 9 Kansas State before losing to No. 3 Michigan, who would go on to lose to No. 1 Villanova in the championship game.

Loyola finished the regular season with a 28-5 record and a MVC Championship.

In seven seasons, Moser has a 121-111 record with the Ramblers, though three of his last four have been winning seasons.