SLU vs. Vanderbilt Pregame


Three straight wins garners momentum for SLU as they clash with Vandy in their final non-conference bout of the season. With some exciting and different story lines to dive into, let’s cut right to the chase with this match-up’s quick Billi-bits.

Back-court aka “Cash-court”

Austin McBroom’s (aka Austin McBuckets aka Austin McMoney) play this year is undeniable. Averaging 11 points/game while shooting an absurd 49% from beyond the arc tells the story in itself. Luckily for him, he’s found some friends to help carry the load. With Ash (Cash) Yacoubou and the under-appreciated veteran Mike Crawford both averaging double digits as well during the winning streak, the entire burden of scoring is off of McBroom’s shoulders. Keeping this consistency in the back-court will be essential.

Damian Jones

Jim Crews called Jones the best big the Bills have faced since he arrived, and there’s a good chance that’s true. On the All-SEC Freshman team last year, Jones has only improved in his sophomore campaign. Averaging 16.5 points and 7 boards per game while shooting 58% from the field can draw not only double teams, but also NBA scouts. Not to mention he stands 6’10” with a wingspan over 7’, and weighs close to 240 pounds. What’s SLU’s answer? Switching into a zone, and bringing double teams are necessary every time Jones catches it on the low post. Milik Yarbrough’s the toughest F/C on this team, and should take any one on one assignments with Jones. Not to mention Milik’s freakish wingspan. Jones has the potential to put up big numbers if the bigs aren’t up to the challenge.

Crews vs. Stallings

Central Illinois bragging rights are at stake here, with both coaches raining from the southern half of our neighbors to the East (Crews hails from Normal, Stallings was born in Collinsville). Maybe the least covered part of this match-up is the revival of this old Missouri Valley Conference rivalry between from the 90’s. From 1993-1999, Stallings lead the Redbirds of Illinois State while Crews steered the ship at Evanville. Not a great sign for Bills fans though, as Stallings had Crews number 10 out of their 11 MVC matchups (10-2 vs. Crews including last year’s match-up). The silver lining? Stallings thinks Crews is a much better coach now then 15 years ago. “He’s much more calm and patient than he was as a younger coach,” said Stallings.

The end of the non-conference play, nearly the end of a home stand, and the end of the year. Lots of endings go along with Wednesday’s match-up. Just as Christmas Day is the unofficial start of the NBA, New Year’s Day has become the unofficial start of the NCAA, and an opportunity to regroup after an extremely average first half. As they close this chapter, the next one looks bright. Every author knows to end each chapter with a cliffhanger, something to make the reader come back. An exciting win against Vandy on Wednesday could be the suspense the fans, players, and coaches need to push through the next chapter.