Bruce Weber Returns to Carbondale for Celebration of SIU’s 2002 Sweet Sixteen Team
One of the best parts of the NCAA Tournament is witnessing mid-majors shock Power Five programs in upset fashion. That’s exactly what Bruce Weber’s 11th-seeded Southern Illinois Salukis did 21 years ago, defeating No. 6 Texas Tech 76-68 in the opening round and No. 3 Georgia 77-75 after that to advance to the Sweet 16.
This weekend, he returned to celebrate that special run with his old team in Carbondale, Ill.
“Great weekend back in Carbondale for a celebration in honor of @SIU_Basketball 2002 Sweet 16 team,” Weber tweeted. “Best team in school history! Most wins, MVC Champs and an extra special group of players!”
Under Weber’s direction, that group compiled a 28-8 record, including a 14-4 mark in the Missouri Valley Conference. In the non-conference, it also boasted a 72-60 win over an Indiana team that advanced all the way to the national championship game.
Weber spent five seasons with Southern Illinois, going 103-54 (.656) overall with a 62-28 (.689) mark in the MVC. That included a pair of trips to the NCAA Tournament.
He then coached Illinois for nine seasons, taking the Illini to the national championship game during the 2004-05 campaign. His run in Champagne featured another Sweet 16 berth and six overall appearances in the Big Dance, with a 210-101 (.675) record.
Weber would conclude his career as coach of the Kansas State Wildcats in 2021-22. His stop in Manhattan was actually his longest, during which he directed the Wildcats to a 184-147 (.556) record and five NCAA Tournaments, including an Elite Eight run in 2018.