It’s A-10 Tourney time baby! The bracket is set and the Billikens are four games away from hanging a conference banner and dancing in the NCAA Tournament. This team has the talent, the tools, and the drive to win four straight games, they’ve done it twice this season already. Let’s not forget the 5-0 start in conference. But…dare I ask…how???
So what do they need to do…
There is no secret formula here. The Billikens have to get buckets. In nine of the Billikens eleven losses they have scored 65 points or fewer. Which tells you that when they score more than 65 they are pretty damn close to unbeatable. So what is the issue?
Missed Free Throws: Of 353 Division 1 schools, SLU ranks 352nd in the nation at .305.
Missed Threes: Of 353 Division 1 schools, SLU ranks 335th in the nation at .599.
Their overall field goal shooting percentage of .416 is 306th of 353.
Because of this atrocious shooting, SLU ranks 298th in the nation in scoring at 67.4 ppg.
There is no way to sugar coat this season’s shooting. This is uglier than my 10th grade yearbook picture…glasses…zits…90 extra pounds… If this team was just average from the line, and from deep, they would have ran away with the A-10 and be solidly ranked in the top 20 in every national pole. Instead, their shooting percentages are buried 9 pages deep on ESPN’s statistics page.
So to answer my question…they gotta get buckets. They gotta hit throws. They have to make sure that when things get close in the final 3 minutes only Javon Bess, Tramaine Isabell, and Dion Wiley are handling the rock. They gotta set more down screens and get things going towards the basket. They gotta make layups. Good god they gotta hit layups.
I’m not a negative man, I swear. I have been more into following this team than I have been any SLU team since Larry Hughes got drafted to Philly. They have 3 players in Bess, Goodwin, and French that have legit NBA talent, athleticism, and prospects. Any other team in the nation with just that would be solidly in the tourney already. But this squad…this squad has yet to find the combination to get that lid off the rim.
To BKNY we go
Their first shot is this Thursday night at 8:30pm taking on the winner of the Richmond and Fordham game. For reference, SLU beat Fordham 63-60 and lost to Richmond at home 83-81. I can say this with zero pause, if SLU’s best defense and best offense show up on the same night, there isn’t a team in the Atlantic 10 that can touch them. But, if their offense that showed up Saturday against the Bonnies shows up again, there isn’t a team in the A-10 they stand a chance against. Just get buckets fellas….
So, until Thursday night…long live Allen Iverson to Larry Hughes
Follow Sauls on Twitter @Will_ArchCity