Saint Louis Billikens Searching for Answers


At one point this year, SLU stood at 4-0 and seemed to be exceeding expectations. Since then, they’ve been almost unwatchable. 

New year, same Billikens.

Almost everyone’s taught that if you have nothing nice to say, don’t say anything. Because of that, it should be no surprise I haven’t covered much on the Billikens in the last month. Since starting 4-0, SLU’s only won 2 of their 11 games. Of the other 9 games, 8 were losses by 13 or more.

It’s hard to believe that only 3 years ago, Jordair Jett and Dwayne Evans had Chaifetz rocking. Only 3 years ago, SLU won the A-10 regular season, and conference tournament. Only 3 years ago, the Billikens were a top 15 team nationally.

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There aren’t many teams in NCAA history that have gone from a situation like that 3 years ago, to what they are now. Offensively, SLU’s 330th in the country in scoring, within 1 or 2 spots of 1-win powerhouses like Central Connecticut State and Mississippi Valley State. Defensively, they’re stuck in the middle of the pack at 117th in the nation, allowing around 68 points per game, but not in crisis mode like they’ve been offensively.

On paper, even the individual stats aren’t terrifying. Last year, only Milik Yarbrough cracked the double digit point average. He’s been joined by Mike Crawford and Ash Yacoubou this year. After hot starts for all three though, things have fallen off. Crawford’s having trouble finding his shot, defenses are starting to key in on Ash, and Milik’s still a year or two away from really being a force (Coach Crews mentioned dribbling as the area Yarbrough needed to improve on the most, earlier in the season).

After those three, there hasn’t been a “next man up”. Miles Reynolds shows flashes, and improved ten fold from a year ago, when he struggled dribbling 40 feet. The same can be said for Reggie Agbeko, who leads the team in field goal percentage, and is a ferocious rebounder. But neither are nightly scoring threats, especially not Agbeko, who makes his money off offensive boards.

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At the moment, anger doesn’t explain the feelings of most fans. Disappointment seems to be the word most common on the message boards, along with a few others that my editors wouldn’t enjoy me printing. Having the answers takes a long journey full of trial and error.

The issue for the Billikens?

They haven’t taken the first step.