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Maybe it is just me, but it sure seems like the media has pretty much decided that St. Louis is done.

Now people are starting to realize just what an impact their late coach had on the program, but it seems
to me like most writers and tv "experts" seem to have forgotten just how much talent the team has. I am
unable to figure out why Temple and St. Louis should not be the heavy favorites to win the conference and
tournament. I realize that Butler and VCU are good, but this is their first year in the A10, and I do not
think it will be the cakewalk that many are predicting for them.

Why is St. Louis not getting any respect? Is the drop off in coaching that severe? Is there no team harmony?
 

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No clue. Not sure what to think of this SLU team. UD gets continually ripped for our schedule. SLU will play only ONE true road game in OOC and the teams they've played at home have been...meh, nothing great. Mon night will tell us a lot about this SLU team as a tough, well coached NM team comes to town. If SLU wins this game, they have to be in the discussion for Top 4 in the league.

I think they are still getting recognition though. ESPN has them 4th in the power rankings right??? UD 5th? Those two are interchangeable right now imo. I think UD has a higher ceiling though if they can get it together.

Warren Nolan has SLU with an RPI of 75 and SOS of 101. UD at 65 and 74.

Crews is the wild card. Historically he's been a bad coach. Historically, Majerus was a wizard. He could take 5 paper cut outs to the NCAA tourny.
 

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Saint Louis is very hard to figure out.

With Rick and Kwamain there all year, I would think 11-1 at this point would be very much in play. Under Crews, the Bills have had one abomination of a loss (@Washington), one bad loss (Santa Clara), and one expected loss (Kansas). Some fans have been pretty happy with this team as it is. I'm not one of them.

Monday tells the story I think.
 

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Losing Keith Carter will hurt their depth, too. League play is a grind. You play a physical game every 3rd-4th day. Nagging injuries and foul trouble become amplified. Everyone has a game or two where you are dependent on the 9th or 10th man in the rotation. SLU is one of 5-7 teams in this league who will likely have their season defined by those games. Carter would have been a pretty good option in that role.

But getting Mitchell back will add multiple dimensions to their game. SLU is going to be a tough out, and be right in the mix of things. They may not be what we thought they would be after last season, but no one in this league will enjoy playing them, and they will win a good number of games. I still wonder about their interior play against bigger, stronger teams. "Easy" buckets may be elusive for them. May keep them out of the top 3-4.
 

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Jordair Jett, Dwayne Evans, and Mike McCall are all playing well, and Corey Remekun has been solid at PF.

Kwamain looked rusty on Friday. He had the swagger and was creating shots for his teammates, but in terms of his own finishing he's just not there yet. He needs to get there in a hurry if SLU is going to beat New Mexico.

Cody Ellis is a wild card. He seems to get hot at the most important times, but his shooting has been awful during this long homestand. He does take more charges than anyone else I've ever seen. I don't expect him to get more than 1 or 2 of those per game in A10 play as his reputation as a flopper is already out there.

Rob Loe has been a huge disappointment. He moves in slow motion. He cannot defend, period. He hasn't made a 3pt shot since November (missing his last 9 attempts). He starts but doesn't take the opening tip anymore. He makes nice passes and hopefully Kwamain's return will help to get Rob more open looks in his preferred spots, but he has no business playing more than 15 minutes per game.

John Manning was out Friday with the flu, but he's looked increasingly competent on both ends. If SLU is going to contend for the A10 title, Manning needs to emerge as the Bills 2nd quality big alongside Remekun.

The Carter transfer will hurt more next season (and especially 2 seasons from now), but SLU still has 3 very good options at the point.

Jake Barnett has been a mild surprise and I like what he brings as a bench player. His shot is coming along and he's much better on defense than I expected (that is to say he's competent instead of a liability).

I'm generally satisfied with Crews' performance. There have been a few really bad moments (leaving Jett in to pick up his 3rd foul in the 1st half against Santa Clara, going with the ultra soft Barnett/Ellis/Loe front court for way too long and nearly blowing the game against North Texas), but the reality is that Crews was dealt a very difficult hand and it's unrealistic to expect perfection. Majerus had bad losses as well when he was under-manned.

I still think SLU could win the A10 if Kwamain returns to form, Jett/McCall/Evans all stay healthy, and Manning takes a step forward and assumes a significant low post role. If Kwamain re-injures his foot and/or Rob Loe is forced to play extended minutes, SLU will be middle of the pack.
 

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When the league schedules came out, thought St. Louis had the easiest schedule with most good team at home.
The road schedule is not exactly soft...

@Temple (having played UMass in STL <48hrs prior)
@Bonaventure
@Richmond
@Butler
@X

The schedule certainly benefits SLU by playing VCU at home, but St Joes and UMass have not lived up to the preseason hype thus far. I'd just assume SLU play either of them on the road rather than making the trek up to Olean.

and there's a case to be made SLU has the toughest 2-game pairing in Butler...
 

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Billikens Cap 2012 With Win Over No. 20 New Mexico


Remekun, known mostly for his defensive prowess, scored a career-high 15 points and Cody Ellis added 13 to lead Saint Louis to a 60-46 win over No. 20 New Mexico in nonconference play.

Mike McCall Jr. chipped in with 12 points for Saint Louis (10-3), which won its seventh in a row -- its longest streak since winning eight straight from Feb. 12-March 13, 2003 -- and moved to 10-1 at home.

Kendall Williams led New Mexico (13-2) with 15 points. Alex Kirk added 13 points and eight rebounds.

New Mexico coach Steve Alford was ejected for the first time in his 22-year coaching career after receiving back-to-back technical fouls with 9:26 remaining.

http://www.slubillikens.com/ViewArticle.dbml?DB_OEM_ID=27200&ATCLID=205863768
 

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This one's for El Shaqtus:


Saint Louis Alone Atop the A-10 After Sweeping Butler in Month to Remember (Yahoo! - The Dagger - February 23, 2013)

Every college basketball team wants to be playing its best basketball in March. That's as true at Saint Louis as anywhere, but it might be hard for the Billikens to top their February.

Saint Louis is in sole possession of first-place in the Atlantic 10 after beating a pair of top 25 conference opponents this week and easily handling its four other A-10 opponents this month.

The most recent victim was No. 15 Butler on Friday night in the closest game (65-61) SLU has been a part of since a late-November loss at Washington. It is the second time SLU has beaten the Bulldogs.

During its eight-game winning streak prior to Friday's game, which includes its first victory over Butler in January, SLU had beaten opponents by an average of more than 15 points. The streak has propelled it to the top of the league and a second straight 20-win season.

The Billikens won 26 games last year and played in the NCAA tournament. If they can get back this year, and all indications are they will, it will be only the second time in school history they have played in the tournament in back-to-back seasons.

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

I'm really glad that Dayton didn't schedule Saint Louis for 'Seniors Night' again this season. That was getting very depressing.

In any event, congratulations on a truly great February.

 

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The most recent victim was No. 15 Butler on Friday night in the closest game (65-61) SLU has been a part of since a late-November loss at Washington.
So we're just pretending that Rhode Island game never happened? Sounds good to me.

Also, SLU beat North Texas by 4 on 12/5. I guess Yahoo can't afford bloggers who can handle basic arithmetic.

Encouraging to see the Billikens win a tough road game even when the 3pt shot wasn't falling for most of the game. Game to game - and really even half to half - different guys are stepping up with offensive bursts.

Kwamain Mitchell has had trouble finishing his drives coming off the foot injury, but last night against Butler he looked pretty good.
 

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SLU is having a great year. Coach Crews should be the national coach of the year and the A-10 coach of the year.
The big question is; do you give Crews the job, or do you open it up? Crews has done a good job coaching RM's players, but can he recruit well enough to maintain what Rick built? With the current state of the program, SLU would likely have some very good young coaches lined up for the job. Tough decision to make.
 

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The big question is; do you give Crews the job, or do you open it up? Crews has done a good job coaching RM's players, but can he recruit well enough to maintain what Rick built? With the current state of the program, SLU would likely have some very good young coaches lined up for the job. Tough decision to make.
Not sure it's all that tough, you give it to a young guy with good promise. SLU can afford to pay good money, but they can't afford to keep a subpar recruiter in place (especially after Soderburgh, who was by most accounts a good game coach and a terrible recruiter). This team is talented and experienced, so Crews gets credit for keeping the team focused after losing Majerus, but a lot of the credit for the team's success should go to Majerus for recruiting and then developing players.
 

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No clue. Not sure what to think of this SLU team. UD gets continually ripped for our schedule. SLU will play only ONE true road game in OOC and the teams they've played at home have been...meh, nothing great. Mon night will tell us a lot about this SLU team as a tough, well coached NM team comes to town. If SLU wins this game, they have to be in the discussion for Top 4 in the league.

I think they are still getting recognition though. ESPN has them 4th in the power rankings right??? UD 5th? Those two are interchangeable right now imo. I think UD has a higher ceiling though if they can get it together.

Warren Nolan has SLU with an RPI of 75 and SOS of 101. UD at 65 and 74.

Crews is the wild card. Historically he's been a bad coach. Historically, Majerus was a wizard. He could take 5 paper cut outs to the NCAA tourny.
 

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Maybe they should consider Majerus/Crews COY, Rick Built it and Crews know enough to support it and not screw with it! The Billikens do epitomize "TEAM" in the fullest sense of the word.
I love how Crews is handling himself now, but should we make him Coach, I just don't know. I'd like Another RM, whatever else the man was, he was certainly a master of BB!
 

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Awesome week, Bills. Clearly deserve it all. Talent and working through a tremendous loss. I was never much of a Crews fan, but he's pulled it off. Hats off.
 

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What about the return of Kwamain Mitchell as a factor in the process of the Bills improving fortunes?

His numbers do anything but jump out at you (8.9 ppg on 37.5% shooting, 29% on threes, 2 boards, 3 assists), but SLU was 8-3 without him with kind of bad losses to Washington (on the road, not THAT bad) and Santa Clara at home (a game that wasn't particularly close to a team who has beaten no one else of note).

Since his return, SLU is 13-2 with a bad home loss to URI and a road loss to a team firmly in the tournament discussion in Temple, and some high quality wins mostly by pretty comfortable margins.

It's hard to say much of anything for sure, since SLU's non-conference schedule didn't have a ton of meat on it other than Kansas and New Mexico (a decisive post-Mitchell's return win). Is senior leadership a thing? Does he have some sort of stabilizing effect on offense and/or defense?

There are probably a ton of things I'm missing, so just a theory.
 

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What about the return of Kwamain Mitchell as a factor in the process of the Bills improving fortunes?

His numbers do anything but jump out at you (8.9 ppg on 37.5% shooting, 29% on threes, 2 boards, 3 assists), but SLU was 8-3 without him with kind of bad losses to Washington (on the road, not THAT bad) and Santa Clara at home (a game that wasn't particularly close to a team who has beaten no one else of note).

Since his return, SLU is 13-2 with a bad home loss to URI and a road loss to a team firmly in the tournament discussion in Temple, and some high quality wins mostly by pretty comfortable margins.

It's hard to say much of anything for sure, since SLU's non-conference schedule didn't have a ton of meat on it other than Kansas and New Mexico (a decisive post-Mitchell's return win). Is senior leadership a thing? Does he have some sort of stabilizing effect on offense and/or defense?

There are probably a ton of things I'm missing, so just a theory.
Getting Kwamain back was huge, not just in what he brought himself, but in the way he stabilized the guard rotation.

Coming into the season, the team looked loaded at guard - specifically point guard. When Mitchell went down on the first or second day of practice, the thought was that between Jett, McCall, and highly touted freshman Keith Carter that they'd be fine - although most people wrote off the chance of beating KU.

The Santa Clara game was a disaster. It should be noted the Corey Remekun was out in addition to Mitchell, and while Grandy Glaze has started every game of this current winning streak, he'd only played 48 minutes of D1 ball heading into that game (i.e. not battle tested). Santa Clara may not have beaten anyone else of note, but they led Duke at Cameron 45-41 at the first TV timeout of the 2nd half.

Santa Clara's Kevin Foster was unstoppable in the first half against SLU. SLU forced him to take difficult shots and he kept making them. Jett in particular seemed to get frustrated as he foolishly picked up his 2nd and 3rd fouls late in the first half (why Crews left him in is a question unto itself).

So SLU is down 44-31 at the half, and you figure Santa Clara can't possibly keep shooting like this, and SLU will go on a run on their home floor. On the first possession of the 2nd half, Jett picked up his 4th foul, and that was pretty much the game right there.

Keith Carter subsequently had a player fall on his knee and had to leave the game (Carter missed the next 7 games, then played 1 game before leaving the program).

So after Santa Clara, SLU is down to 2 healthy guards (Jett and McCall)...that is until Jett pulled his groin against KU. Miraculously SLU only lost to KU by 14 despite having only 1 healthy guard for most of the game. Jett didn't miss any games though, playing with the nagging injury - but defensively he was not his usual self.

Getting Jett healthy and Kwamain back in late December, allowed there to be 2 of the 3 stud guards on the floor pretty much at all times. Having Jett come off the bench allows him to play with more intensity (knowing he doesn't have to go 35+).
 

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Pretty good synopsis of the situation buckswope. Another huge issue to point out is Dwayne Evans. If you look at his numbers up until around January 15th they are very sub par for his standards. Ever since then he has been what we all expected. He was dealing with a very nagging back injury that is finally healed. The biggest factors in my mind were getting Jett and Evans fully healthy.
 
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