SLU A-10 Tournament Preview


Win or go home. Survive and advance. Best month of the year. “It’s March baby!”(Dick Vitale voice) Cliché cliché cliché. When Duquesne and SLU meet on Wednesday, with a whopping combined 9-27 in conference this year, there won’t be much talk about Selection Sunday, but more about respect.

SLU offensive keys

SLU’s painfully bad on offense. Last in the A-10 and 327th in the country, the Bills average just under 60 points per game on the year (only team in the A-10 under 60 ppg). But, if there were going to be a game they score well in, it’s against Duquesne, who’s equally terrible on defense (last in A-10, 343rd in nation). The Billikens’ second highest scoring game came against the Dukes in a rare conference win in January, when they dropped 78.

With nothing to lose, the Bills will be playing much freer, and less freshman-y. Don’t expect hesitations from Yarbrough, Reynolds, Bartley, or the other freshmen to drive hard or pull the trigger on some threes. To advance, they’ll need a big game from Milik and Ash, in all areas. Milik will draw some double teams in the post, so his ability to facilitate will be of tremendous help, while his and Ash’s rebounding are essential (since we know the big guys won’t be doing much).

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Finally, a tertiary and quarternary scorer will need to step out. Yarbrough and Yacoubou can both produce 15 points, with 5 boards and a couple assists, but who else will step up? It’s been the question all season long. Might be a chance for Austin McBroom to regain some favor with the coaching staff. Marcus Bartley, Mike Crawford, or Reggie Agbeko are all underrated talents on the team in a position to produce.

SLU Defensive Keys

The Dukes sit second in the conference for points, with over 72 per game, and three point percentage, 37%. Combine the two, and it’s looking like a long Wednesday afternoon for the inexperienced Billikens, as this one has potential to get ugly. In order to shut down this potent attack, SLU needs a dominant rebounding effort from the whole team. Not just one or two folks, but everyone crashing the boards.

Another point I’ve made through the season is the lack of edge and personality defensively from SLU. There’s no swagger from them on the court, thus the opponent’s offense doesn’t respect them. There’s nothing wrong with a hard foul (in the limits of the game), or a little talk here and there. At the end of the day, this is March. It’s time to get serious and get ready for next year.


Final Thoughts (Time and TV)

Two teams at the bottom of the league, fighting to extend their season, with nothing to lose breeds good basketball. Not fundamentally sound (there’s a reason they’re at the bottom of the league), but hard-fought, and tough nosed. These games show the integrity of the team, and where they’re headed. I said it earlier in the week, and I’ll say it again: Jim Crews is fighting for his job. A slight run in the tournament helps his resume when the Athletic Director calls him in.

Time: 8:00 p.m. CST

TV: Fox Sports Midwest (ESPN 101-radio)

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