A room full of maroon clad Saluki fans with smiles on their faces means a lot to Southern Illinois Basketball Coach Barry Hinson. Because coaches caravans like the one that packed Wooded Hills Bar and Grill on Thursday, didn't used to generate much interest among fans.
"Two years ago when we did these caravans, there might be like five people," Hinson admitted with a smile. "And the only reason they showed up was because the food was free, they didn't want to hear about Saluki athletics."
Now, things are a bit different. The football program has strung together back to back winning seasons, and the basketball team just finished fourth in the Missouri Valley Conference. On a scale of one to ten, Saluki fans are pretty happy with the direction things are headed at Southern Illinois.
"I'm never going to say a ten unless we're winning every championship in the country, so right now I would say a 7 or 8," said SIU graduate and Harrisburg native Britt Pavelonis. "It's looking up."
"Do I want to go back and watch it," asked Saluki fan Gabe Angelly. "Do I want to go back and watch what's going on as a team, and right now I do. It's great to have a desire to watch it."
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