Category: Sports Blog

Time to see what kind of General Manager Ryan Pace will be


By: Peter Bobrinskoy

               Free Agency. The two words that are the scariest and most damaging parts of the National Football League. For years and years the Chicago Bears have tried to win while being very active in Free Agency. Every year Phil Emery, the former general manager of the Bears, tried to make big splashes in March and every year it did not result in making the playoffs. He kept on believing that people like Jerome Bushrod, Jared Allen, Michael Bush, Jeremiah Ratliff, Lamar Houston, Ryan Mundy, Martellus Bennet were the answer to the Bears problems when in fact they were what damaged the team.

               The Bears have never tried to win through the NFL draft. They have never tried to take advantage of the compensation picks that the NFL gives out. For those who are not familiar with compensation picks, they are extra draft picks given out every year to the teams that stay out of free agency while other teams take their players. For example Bill Barnwell of explains it through the Patriots, “The Patriots mostly stay out of free agency, choosing to make selective forays for undervalued assets (like Brandon LaFell) or talents at the top of the market they would otherwise be unable to acquire (like Rosevelt Colvin and Adalius Thomas in years past). By doing so and having other teams target their free agents, the Patriots come in line for various compensatory picks from the NFL’s obtuse, black-box system. These picks aren’t tradable, and no team can receive anything higher than a third-rounder as part of the league’s system, but their value can add up over time. The Patriots have made 25 compensatory selections during Belichick’s time with the team, and the estimated value of those picks — based on their draft slot alone — is roughly between the value of having the first overall pick and the second overall pick. All for not signing free agents.”

               You see it is as simple as that. When you are not active in free agency, you are rewarded extra draft picks. When you are active in free agency you do not receive those picks. Do you know of a team that takes action with the compensation picks and puts all of their resources to the NFL draft——- the Green Bay Packers. In the past three seasons the Packers have had 28 draft picks. The Bears have 20. The Bears believe that overpaying older free agents and not receiving compensation picks is going to lead them to the Super Bowl. And this is not the only division where this is occurring. The AFC East is a perfect example of this. The Jets keep trying to buy success through free agency and never put all of their resources into the Draft. While the Patriots, for the most part, stay out of free agency and build their team off the draft.

               In 2015 the Packers lead the NFL in 92% of their team were drafted by the Packers. The Bears were slightly behind that with 54.1%. Oh and the Packers had 12 wins and the Bears had 5. People want to say that the reasons the Packers have had more success over the Bears for the past 25 years is because of their stability and success at the Quarterback position. Yes that is very true. Brett Favre and Aaron Rodgers have been huge to the Packers’ success. However they were also put in positions to succeed. When Aaron Rodgers and Brett Favre started their first NFL games they were surrounded by great draft driven talent around them. When Jay Cutler starts for the Bears, every year he has draft picks being cut in order to make room for “flashy” new free agents, and his team has continuously failed to surround good and a lot of draft picks around him. One could say that if Aaron Rodgers was drafted by the Bears in 2005, he would be just another quarter.

The lesson of this blog is that the winners in March are never the winners in February. And the problem is that the Bears have never learned this. There was optimism with Ryan Pace when on his first press conference after being hired he stated that the Bears were going to be a “Draft Driven” team. However a month later he decided to sign Pernell McPhee, Antrell Rolle, and Eddie Royal to the Bears. He made the same mistake Jerry Angelo and Phil Emery made. He’s going to try to buy success instead of drafting it.

Meaningful win for Salukis as they slide past Missouri State

By: Ethan Cox

On Friday night we saw the Saluki face highly ranked MVC rivals Missouri State Bears.

SIU went into the game at 4th place and 8-4 in the conference as they matched up against 2nd placed 10-3 Missouri State.

The game tipped off with the Salukis having multiple opportunities to pull away from the Bears, but four turnovers in the first three minutes prevented them from doing so.

Missouri State had turnover problems of their own, having three right away. The two teams combined for 10 turnovers with three minutes left in the quarter.

“We knew we turned the ball over a lot” said Saluki G Rishonda Napier, “but it didn’t stop our goal to win”.

The Salukis finished the quarter shooting better than the Bears, but found themselves down 19-16 due to the constant turnovers.

The second quarter picked up where the first left off with the Bears leading by eight points.

Midway through the quarter, Missouri State went on a scoring drought, making only 1-13 FGs in six minutes. During the drought, the Salukis went on a 9-0 under two 3 pointers from G Kylie Giebelhausen, helping SIU pull back and take the lead 25-24 before the end of the half.

Notably, the Salukis had 15 turnovers of the 24 in the first half. The Bears only totalled nine points in the quarter, but it was enough to keep the score tied at half.

“We gave up the ball a lot in the first half, but we were still in it so we knew we could win this game” said Saluki head coach Cindy Stein.

Halftime: 28-28

The start of the second half wasn’t a good start for either team because neither team was shooting above 40% from the floor, three minutes into the quarter.

After a slow start, the Salukis went on a momentum spree. They hit four field goals in a row, accounting for a 7-0 run in 1:30. Salukis had their largest lead of the night with the score of 37-30 with 6:00 left in the quarter.

The Bears went through shooting issues once again, scoring only one FG halfway through the quarter.

Unlike the last scoring drought, the Bears quickly bounced back and were able to get back in form but found themselves down 46-39 with under two minutes remaining in the third quarter.

With four seconds left in the quarter, Saluki F Azia Washington was fouled before making a jump shot to then convert the add one. The quarter ended with a Saluki lead of 51-43.

The final quarter began with the Salukis hitting a dry spell of their own, scoreless for three minutes.

The Saluki turnover problems continued to the end. With six minutes left in the game, SIU had turned the ball over 20 times and the Bears scored 26 points from the turnovers.

Saluki offense began to run out of steam, going 1-8 in FGs, allowing Missouri State to cut the Saluki lead 56-55.

“We didn’t think we would go down. We knew we would get away from the again” said Giebelhausen.

After a scoring drought of 2:30, the Salukis lost the lead for the first time since the second quarter, but quickly regained it after three consecutive layups from Napier and a 3 point shot from Giebelhausen.

Clutch plays from the Saluki guards successfully put the game out of reach for Missouri State, earning a win for SIU.

Final: 69-61 Salukis

Stat Leaders: Rishonda Napier – 23 points, Dyana Pierre – 10 Rebounds, Napier 10 – Assists

The Salukis will look to continue their win streak next week at home against Wichita State at 2:00 pm.


Salukis fend off Bradley

By: Matthew Schneider

Despite a twelve-point victory from the Salukis, this game was a lot closer than the 71-59 score indicated. Bradley has ten freshmen and is the youngest team in the MVC. Under first year coach Brian Wardle this team is definitely looking towards the future. The Salukis came into this game trying to win their third straight came before going on the road to play Evansville, and Illinois State. Anthony Beane came into this game with back-to-back 31 point performances and Bola Olaniyan also had a double-double in the game versus Drake coming into Bradley.

The first half was a half that SIU coach Barry Hinson very disappointed with even though his team had a two-point advantage at the break. Sean O’Brien was the leading scorer for the Dawgs with 13 points and Olaniyan had 7 points to go with his 7 first-half rebounds. Anthony Beane had his worst first half of the season. Beane went 0-7 from the field and 0-3 from behind the 3-point line. Anthony missed shots he usually makes and had a couple of air balls and some lay-ups that he missed as well as a dunk that was blocked by the rim. Donte Thomas led the Braves with eight points and two rebounds and Peter Hanley had six points as well for Bradley. When they played Bradley earlier in the year SIU was ahead 41-23 at the half. This game was much different as the Salukis held a two-point edge over Bradley 36-34.

The second half started off with two steals by SIU. The first was by Olaniyan and he slammed it home and Mike Rodriguez stole it and was unable to finish the play. It was clear that Barry Hinson wanted his team to set the tone and they did and forced Bradley to call a timeout. Bradley was able to keep this game close but they could never get over the hump and take the lead. SIU was able to pull away with the help of a Sean O’Brien desperation three-pointer and two big three point shots from Anthony Beane and those were his only points in the game. The Salukis won this game 71-59 but it was not the best performance by Southern Illinois.

Sean O’Brien was the game’s top scorer with 24 points and shot 11-13 from the field and included a three-point shot. Mike Rodriguez scored 14 points and Olaniyan had 11 points and 11 rebounds for his second straight double-double. Tyler Smithpeters had 8 points and 7 assists. Anthony Beane had 6 points and Leo Vincent added 8 points off the bench. Donte Thomas had 17 points for Bradley and Lautier-Ogunleye scored 12 for Bradley. Scottie James and Peter Hanley each added6 points off the bench for Bradley.

The Salukis improved to 21-7 overall and 10-5 in the MVC. They are in a tie for third place with Evansville in the standings. There game is Saturday at 3, when they take on Evansville on the road. There next home game is February 27th, when they take on Missouri State at 7. That is their last game before the MVC tournament and will be senior day. With the loss, Bradley is now 5-23 overall and 2-13 in the MVC. Bradley has a home game on Saturday when they face Drake.

Beane and SIU defeat Drake

By: Matt Schneider

The Salukis haven’t had a 20- win season since 2007. That changed when SIU beat Drake 60-75 Saturday. This was the game where the fans got to watch five people inducted into the hall of fame and witness Anthony Beane score his 100th point in MVC games. SIU won this game with great defense and rebounding and of course a great effort from Anthony Beane who scored 31. Drake is ranked 16th in the nation in 3-point percentage and this game featured Anthony Beane and Reed Timmer, who were the second and third leading scorers in the MVC.   

The game got off to a good start for Southern Illinois and at the first media timeout they were in command 10-3. SIU had a stretch in the first half that included four unforced turnovers in a row. Despite the turnovers, Drake was never able to take full advantage and had a tough time staying with SIU. Reed Timmer the third leading score in the conference had a tough half with three points and two fouls. Bola Olaniyan was a big presence inside for the Salukis and grabbed four rebounds in the first half while playing great defense on seven-foot Dominik Olejniczak. At the end of the half the Salukis were ahead by ten 37-27.

At the half five former Saluki greats were inducted into the Saluki Hall of Fame. Harold Bardo (Administrator), Diane Daugherty (Women’s Golf Coach), Doug Ingram (Swimming and Diving Coach), Bonnie Norrenberns (Volleyball) and James Phillips (Football) were the five members that will be enshrined in Saluki athletic history.

The second half began with a run that got Drake within 41-35. That would be the closest that Drake would get as they really could not seem to stop Anthony Beane. Anthony scored 20 of his 31 points in the second half and Drake Guard Ore Arogundade had no answer when it came to slowing down Beane. Another big reason why the Salukis were able to win this game easily was the great defense from SIU guard Tyler Smithpeters who held Reed Timmer, the third leading scorer in the MVC, to 9 points and held him to 4 of 12 from the field and was 0-4 from behind the three-point line. Bola Olaniyan who finished with a double-double did a great job on the boards grabbing ten of them and did a great job defending Olejniczak in the post. Drake coach Ray Giacoletti said “SIU has come along way and they are blue print of what we want to do.” Drake has eleven freshmen and sophomores on their team so they are young and have areas to improve on. While we like to watch Anthony Beane do his work by scoring SIU coach Barry Hinson said that he likes everything else. “Anthony does so much more, I like watching him go for a rebound or get a big defensive play, that is what I like to see from him as a coach,” said Barry Hinson.

Drake fell to 6-20 overall and 1-13 in the MVC. They have yet to win a game on the road this year and will take on Evansville at home on Wednesday Febuary, 17. Southern Illinois improved to 20-7 overall and 9-5 in the MVC. The Salukis have their first 20-win season since 2007 and have the best overall record in the MVC. The Salukis will be taking on Bradley Wednesday night. That game will start at seven and by at the SIU Arena.