Southern Illinois University men’s basketball coach Barry Hinson announced today that his team will not participate in a postseason tournament this season. The Salukis are 22-10 and were expecting to receive an invitation on Sunday from one of the five college basketball postseason tournaments.
“We carefully considered a host of factors before reaching the decision to end our season,” Hinson said. “Chief among them were the health and welfare of our players, as well as the budgetary implications of hosting games on our campus during spring break.”
Hinson said several players have lingering injury issues from the season and would not be at full strength to make a postseason run. The University also goes on spring break next week when tournaments such as the CollegeInsider.com Tournament (CIT) and College Basketball Invitational (CBI) are scheduled to begin.
Hinson had previously said the ongoing budget crisis did not put SIU in a position to bid to host games in the CIT or the CBI. In fact on Wednesday, SIU President Randy Dunn announced under the governor's proposed 20% cut for higher education in FY-2017, the Salukis would have to eliminate the men's and women's tennis programs.
“After consulting with Coach Hinson, I agree with the decision not to participate in postseason play this season,” said SIU Director of Athletics Tommy Bell. “There wasn’t one over-riding factor that led to this decision, but the sum of the parts led us to determine it was in our best interest not to play.”
The Salukis have been the comeback story of the 2015-16 season. Picked to finish ninth in the preseason poll, they posted an 11-2 non-conference record and an 11-7 league mark to finish tied for fourth place with Northern Iowa. The 22 wins are the most since the 2007 team won 29 games and advanced to the Sweet 16. SIU posted its first winning season since 2008.