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October 14, 2003

USI Men's Basketball picked to win GLVC

The GLVC released its 2003-04 basketball preseason polls, tabbing the University of Southern Indiana men's basketball team as the favorite to win the GLVC, while the women's team is picked to place fifth.

The USI men's program, who was 25-7 overall last season, reemerged as one of the top teams in the country with their seventh sweet 16 appearance in nine seasons in 2002-03. This season, USI is hungry to take the next step advancing to the NCAA II Elite Eight.

The Screaming Eagles have won at least 20 games each season since 1992-93 and averaged 25 victories a year since 1993-94. USI, with a record of 278-61 (.820) over 11 seasons, also has produced 10 NCAA II Tournament appearances, the 1995 NCAA II National Championship team, the 1994 NCAA II Finalist team, four Great Lakes Valley Conference Championships, and five GLVC Tournament appearances.

USI head coach Rick Herdes will lead a veteran squad into action in 2003-04. During his first two years, Herdes' teams have produced 47 victories against only 15 defeats for a .758 winning percentage.

Leading the way for Herdes are a pair of preseason honorable mention All-Americans in senior forward Billy Harris (Carbondale, Illinois) and senior center John Oden (St. Louis, Missouri). Harris, a second team All-GLVC and All-Region performer, was USI's top rebounder a year ago with 7.5 rpg and ranked third on the team with 13.0 ppg. Oden, a transfer from DePaul University, practiced with USI all last season and is anticipated to become a dominating player in the GLVC.

The Eagles also return its second leading scorer from last season in junior guard Cris Brunson (Evansville, Indiana). The honorable mention All-GLVC performer averaged 13.2 ppg last season.

The official start of basketball practice begins with Midnight Madness tonight. The festivities will start at 11 p.m. and conclude with the team taking the floor at midnight.

Ray Simmons, USI Sports Information
GLVC Release and Poll

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