3/25 Bidwell's Blog: Murray State close to deal with SIU

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The Racers and Salukis haven't played since 2006.

The wait appears to be nearly over. After a six-year hiatus, Murray State coach Steve Prohm told me today he is close to finalizing a deal for the Racers to resume their series with Southern Illinois in the 2013-14 season. After playing in Billy Kennedy's first-year in 2006-07, the series ended despite there being one year left on the contract.  Kennedy and then-SIU coach Chris Lowery were unable to agree on a date for the 2007-08 season and the series was ended. I've been pretty vocal over the years that this series absolutely needed to resume -- sooner than later.  Prohm and SIU's Barry Hinson talked about playing last season, but Hinson wanted to wait a little while before starting the series again as he was trying to rebuild that Saluki program from the ground up. Again, that wait looks to be all but over.
 
Details of the series aren't set yet.  Prohm says they still need to get the contract signed, but that appears to be a matter of when rather than if.
 
As for the rest of Murray State's non-conference schedule, Prohm said no dates have been set.  We do know the Racers are scheduled to play at Old Dominion, at Western Kentucky, at Valparaiso and at St. Mary's. Prohm is looking at the possibility of pairing a "money game" with that trip to St. Mary's -- Stanford and Cal are both located about 20 minutes away from St. Mary's.  It would be easy, if schedules work out for all parties involved, to knock out the money game and the BracketBusters return game in one trip. 

Murray is also scheduled to play at Dayton again in the final year of their three-year contract.  Prohm told me he is trying to move that game to 2014-15.  With so many road games already on the board for next year, that would make sense.  He's also trying to get the Racers into another multi-team event, such as The Charleston Classic in 2012, which will give Murray State a chance to play several high-major schools on a neutral floor -- depending on who else plays in that event.
 
Prohm's challenge this year, as always, will be finding home games.  I'd expect the SIU series to open in Murray simply because of all the road games the Racers already have.  With Isaiah Canaan and Ed Daniel gone, I'd have to guess talking teams into coming to the CFSB Center next season will be just a smidge easier than in recent years.
 
We'll keep you posted through the coming weeks as more dates are released.
 
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