Another day, another game. For Miami University’s men’s basketball team, it’s another opportunity to start moving forward.
The RedHawks, with eight losses in their last nine games, have been off since last weekend and will try to grab some positives Saturday when they visit Southern Illinois for a Ramada Worldwide BracketBuster contest.
“Our guys need to get a win,” MU coach John Cooper said. “There’s no reason not to be focused. We still have things to play for.”
Miami is 8-16. SIU is 11-16. It’s a less-than-marquee matchup in the final BracketBuster year.
Cooper has expressed mixed emotions about the BracketBuster series. The feeling is the same at Southern Illinois.
“It’s a good concept, but there’s a lot of instances where it could hurt you more than it could help you,” said Salukis associate head coach Tom Hankins. He was speaking on behalf of head coach Barry Hinson, who’s been sick most of the week.
“It’s so late in the year that it really can cause problems,” Hankins continued. “I was at Oral Roberts for the past 15 years, and we had a couple games where we had a couple key players get injured in the BracketBuster. And you never know where they’re going to send you.”
SIU is 3-2 since the BracketBuster matchup was announced. Included in that stretch was a win over 22nd-ranked Wichita State.
The Salukis are similar to MU. Both play guard-oriented basketball.
“Miami does have size — they can go big when they need to. We have no chance to go big,” Hankins said. “We are an undersized team that’s really overcome a lot of adversity as far as injuries and not having very much of an inside game. But we’re playing our best basketball right now. Guys are starting to find their roles.”
For the RedHawks, Cooper inserted center Drew McGhee and guard Allen Roberts into the starting lineup last Saturday against Buffalo, and both scored in double figures. The Miami coach said he was unsure about any lineup changes against SIU.
MU’s last 1-8 stretch came during the 1979-80 season under Darrell Hedric (that’s excluding the 18 straight losses in 1988-89 because eight were forfeits). A loss today would create the RedHawks’ worst span of games since losing 11 of 12 in 1961-62 under Dick Shrider.
Miami at Southern Illinois, 3:05 p.m., 1450, 1230, 980, 101.3, 100.3