Local college hoops 2016-17 preview: Southern Illinois


Local college hoops 2016-17 preview: Southern Illinois

2015-16 Results: The Salukis had a breakthrough in 2015-16, recording the program's first winning season since 2008. Southern Illinois did have a weak non-conference schedule, but they still finished 22-10 and 11-7 in the Missouri Valley Conference.

Players to Watch: Senior Anthony Beane graduated and center Bola Olaniyan transferred but the Salukis do have some experience back. Junior Sean O'Brien is a former Mundelein star who was productive last season, averaging 12.1 points and 6.0 rebounds per game. Senior guards Tyler Smithpeters, Leo Vincent and Mike Rodriguez all played 32 games last season and are capable players who could all start.

Key Storylines: Withstanding the loss of two key players and rebuilding a bit will be key for Southern Illinois. With the Valley not having as much star power as in year's past, it's an interesting time for the league and Southern Illinois has to try to take advantage. With Rodriguez dealing with a knee injury, the senior becoming healthy is also important in the early part of the season. But finding someone to be the go-to guy after the loss of Beane is probably the most important thing for Southern Illinois to figure out.

Newcomers to Track: Point guard Aaron Cook has a chance for immediate minutes despite the Salukis having an experienced perimeter. Cook is an offensive playmaker who can also defend. Junior college forward Thik Bol led the NJCAA in blocked shots as a freshman and was fourth last season. The 6-foot-8 forward should help with rim protection and defense as well.

Season Outlook: With potentially four senior starters, Southern Illinois is an intriguing team in the Valley that could make a move if someone steps up to become a team leader. Replacing Beane's scoring is going to be tough, but the Salukis are experienced and balanced enough to be a tough out. Defending will also be a key for Southern Illinois and some of the new pieces could help in that department. 

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.