Analysis: CBI Tournament ends men’s basketball season


Photo by Quinton Watt

The men’s basketball team sits on the court during a media timeout against Midway University Nov. 7, 2022, in the Screaming Eagles Arena.

Eric Reynolds, Sports Writer

The first Division I men’s basketball season came to an end following losses in both the Ohio Valley Conference Tournament and the College Basketball Invitational. 

The Screaming Eagles came into the OVC tournament with a conference record of 9-9, which set them up as the No. 7 seed in the conference tournament. In the first round, they matched up against Southern Illinois University-Edwardsville. 

USI came out of the gates flat in this game and was never able to catch their rhythm. USI shot 29.2% from the field and 25.8% from three. After a hard-fought 40 minutes, the Screaming Eagles fell to the Cougars 68-54, bowing out of their first OVC tournament. 

Following the OVC tournament, USI accepted an invitation from the CBI tournament in Dayton Beach, Florida. They were slated to be the No. 15 seed in the tournament and faced the second-seeded San Jose State University. 

Heading into this matchup, USI was a heavy underdog, with San Jose State favored by 8 points when the game tipped off. Just like in the OVC tournament, the Screaming Eagles were never able to find their groove in this game, leading to a 25-point blowout for San Jose State. 

The only USI player who seemed to play like their regular self was Isaiah Swope, sophomore guard, who had 16 points in this matchup. San Jose State locked down Jacob Polakovich, senior forward, who only had 6 points and six rebounds, far less than his average. 

With the 2022-23 season in the books, men’s basketball looks ahead to the future of the program. Next season, the Screaming Eagles will be without three starters due to the graduation of Polakovich, Jelani Simmons, senior guard, and Trevor Lakes, graduate forward. In addition to the losses from graduation, Tyler Henry, junior guard, and Swope have already entered their names into the transfer portal via their Twitter accounts. For Henry’s announcement click here and for Swope’s click here

These losses will cause serious trouble for USI next season, and there could be more losses to the transfer portal later in the offseason. Players such as Gary Solomon, junior guard, and Jack Campion, freshman guard, will be looked at to lead the team into a new era of Screaming Eagles basketball. 

I would like to thank Polakovich, Simmons, Lakes and Henry for their time and dedication to the USI basketball program and for being the leaders needed during this historic first DI season. I wish you all the best in your future endeavors.