(ST. LOUIS) — Greetings from St. Louis. I just got done watching Southern Illinois bring a merciful end to Illinois States season. The whole time I found myself wondering how in the world the Salukis could have beaten Wichita State. The final chapter of this season hasn’t been written, but to this point the Shockers failure at home would be a predominant theme. That’s a little too broad for me, the Southern Illinois loss cost WSU a share of the Valley title. I get Missouri State and even Northern Iowa, but after watching the Salukis again tonight I can’t imagine them beating a drum, let alone another team. None of which can make Illinois State feel too good about things.
The Redbirds are one of the great disappointments of the Valley. They’re spinning it as a ‘youth movement’ at ISU—and the ‘Birds have four starting underclassman. But one has to wonder how they didn’t cash in on 74 wins over the last three years. 74 wins, by the way, that didn’t garner a single NCAA tourney berth. Head Coach Tim Jankovich has made a habit of scheduling weakly and its hurt the Redbirds and the Valley. Illinois State’s non-conference schedule was amongst the weakest of the nation’s 342 division one programs.