St. Louis was home for the Missouri Valley Conference Media Day earlier today, and as Southern Illinois coach Chris Lowery points out, every team feels pretty happy about their team right now. Here are 10 thoughts and fun moments from the Sheraton City Center.
10. Saluki women's basketball is in "transition" year, according to the MVC press release. Are they referring to new coach Missy Tiber's fast-break offense or the team being picked to finish last in the 10-team league? And I wonder how many times Tiber will refer to a "roller coaster" when describing the ups and downs of her team.
9. Saluki point guard Kevin Dillard's shoes had to be 3 sizes too big. Dillard seemed to be annoyed by his long, "cowboy-boot looking" footwear. "Voice of the Salukis" Mike Reis poked fun at Dillard's look. Head Coach Chris Lowery: "If only we can get him to play as good as he looks."
8. Evansville head coach Marty Simmons couldn't really comment on the new NCAA rule prohibiting charges under the basket, similar to NBA's arc under the hoop. Simmons (who looks like an offensive lineman): "I wouldn't know, I haven't taken one in my life."
7. The economy has affected the media guide process. Indiana State is adapting well, with its basketball media guides being published on a disc. As for Bradley, they had a letter saying they are no longer printing media guides, and you need to look online for various team notes. Ah, gotta love these times.
6. For those who do not know much about basketball, Missouri State coach Cuonzo Martin may not be the guy to talk to. He does not simplify the art of winning games; it is strictly basketball speak. He could be a 400-level professor in a basketball class. Also, Martin had what seemed to be a 45-minute talk with SIU Athletic Director Mario Moccia...would have liked to overhear that conversation.
5. Fox Sports Midwest gave away big coffee mugs to everybody. It made me think of last year when announcer Dan McLaughlin spoke at Media Day. I just heard him on a college football telecast, so I understand why he wasn't there today. The guy never stops working, and as much as it would be cool to see him, I will take the coffee mugs.
4. Each coach is disturbed by the trend of BCS conferences getting more and more at-large bids in NCAA tournament, while mid-majors get fewer and fewer. Illinois State and Creighton could have arguments last year on men's side, but they came up short. Scheduling well and getting national exposure are big ways, according to coaches, to get the league back to tournament.
3. Illinois State men's coach Tim Jankovich was at it again. He had this to say about his team, who happens to be picked third in the league: "We got eight new guys in practice, and we are just trying to figure out what basket is ours most of the time and which one we're defending."
2. And speaking of Illinois State, women's coach Robin Pingeton says preseason all-conference selection Maggie Krick did not want to say it to media, but Krick told her jokingly that she is happy that 3-time MVC Player of The Year Kristi Cirone is gone: "'I'm just so thankful she's finally gone, cuz now I can shoot the ball.'"
1. I wonder how many times each coach has to answer the same exact question. The event is five hours long, there are tons of media members around the Midwest, and there a variety of different interview requests. Thank you coaches, especially with many coming from Wichita, Kansas, Omaha, Neb., Des Moines, Iowa Cedar Falls, Iowa and every other MVC city that is not that that close to STL.