(St. Louis, MO) – Interesting regional rivals tangle tonight. As Missouri Valley and Ohio Valley Conference teams are in the final weeks of non-conference play there can be some intriguing contests.
Southern Illinois Rivalry
Southern Illinois Edwardsville (SIUE) travels down state for a game with their ‘cousins’, the Salukis of Southern Illinois Carbondale (SIU). These two teams couldn’t be on more different trajectories.
SIU is one of the hottest teams in the nation with a record of 8-1. They’ve won their last three games and are averaging 81 points per game. Head Coach Barry Hinson’s team has made a dramatic turn around after a mass exodus of players in the off season.
SIUE has dropped seven-in-a-row and first year head coach Jon Harris is trying to nurse his young team’s psyche along. The Cougars haven’t scored 80 points in a game this year and in their last two contests they didn’t reach 60.
This rivalry has always existed, but is starting to pique the interest of Illinoisans now that SIUE is a Division 1 team. Former Saluki Kent Williams is on the Cougar staff and both coaches recruit the rich ‘down state’ talent, so this isn’t just for bragging rights, this is also living room conversation for Hinson and Harris.
SIU’s Anthony Beane is off to a great start. He’s averaging over 20 points per game and has climbed to twelfth on the Saluki all time scoring chart.
First year Cougar Carlos Anderson is doing some impressive things. He has reached double figures in scoring in four of his last five games. The athletic performer from nearby Alton High School is a high flyer and he doesn’t commit turnovers.
Expect the Salukis to win, but don’t expect the Cougars to stay down long.
Valparaiso at Indiana State
These two in-state rivals haven’t met since 2004! Isn’t it just logical for these two to meet every season?
The Sycamores (3-4) are coming off a hard fought loss to # 25 Butler (another in-state rival) and have dropped two straight, but are 54-19 at the Hulman Center since Head Coach Greg Lansing took the Sycamore reins. Indiana State owns a 50-29 advantage in the series that dates back to the 1936-37 season.
Both head coaches, Lansing and Valpo’s Bryce Drew are sons of basketball coaches. Lansing’s father, Dave Lansing is a part of the Iowa High School Hall of Fame and Greg will join him there this coming Spring.
Drew is the son of long-time Crusader coach Homer Drew, one of the most respected men in collegiate basketball. Both coaches are hovering around the 100 win mark for their careers. Lansing sits at 97 and Drew at 101.
Valpo is 7-2 and coming off an impressive home win over Belmont.
Eastern Kentucky at # 4 Kentucky
The Colonels (7-2) get to visit Rupp Arena and take on the powerful Kentucky Wildcats, but only one of these two teams won their last game and it wasn’t the fourth ranked ‘one-and-doners’.
EKU Head Coach Dan McHale is a Kentucky graduate and worked as a graduate assistant under Tubby Smith and then worked as an assistant at Louisville under Rick Pitino, so he has multiple reasons for wanting to succeed in Wednesday’s game!
The Colonels have three players averaging double figures in scoring, led by newcomers Jarelle Reischel (19.7) and JaVontae Hawkins (18.8). Kentucky (7-1), of course is loaded and they average over 90 points per game.
All three of these regional rivalry games can be found on the ESPN family of networks.