What has been going on with Southern Illinois over the years? The Salukis were always a team where you could count on them playing tough, hard nose defense. They had six consecutive seasons where they made the NCAA Tournament and were ranked as high as No. 11 in the ESPN polls.
However, ever since the 2008-09 season it seems as if they have lost their defensive identity. They aren’t shutting people down the way they use to and they aren’t getting out on fast break like they once did. They rank in the lower half in almost every defensive category in the conference. They were once a powerhouse in the Missouri Valley Conference, but the last few years they have struggled.
The home court advantage that they once used is now gone as the team isn’t winning very much. They need to get back to what they became known for, and that is defense.
They have a new coach this year in Barry Hinson and the struggles continue, but for the sake of the conference it would be nice to get them back to where they once were. It’s always important to get as many solid teams in this conference as they can. It can only improve the conference and also help make it more competitive. Their team is fairly young this season so that might have something to do with their struggles and that gives some hope that they will be able to get back to the team that they were five to six years ago.