St. Louis 2010 CBI Tournament Preview
St. Louis Billikens - Atlantic 10 Conference (20-11, 11-5)
Big Wins: 1/9 Richmond (63-58), 2/17 Rhode Island (62-57), 3/6 at Dayton (71-66)
Bad Losses: 11/27 vs Iowa State (54-65), 1/2 at Bowling Green (50-59), 1/27 at George Washington (62-67)
Coach: Rick Majerus
Probable St. Louis Starters:
Kwamain Mitchell, Sophomore, Guard, 16.1 ppg, 2.9 apg
Kyle Cassity, Sophomore, Guard, 6.4 ppg, 3.0 apg
Christian Salecich, Freshman, Guard, 6.4 ppg, 1.8 apg
Cody Ellis, Freshman, Forward, 11.1 ppg, 4.9 rpg
Willie Reed, Sophomore, Forward, 11.7 ppg, 7.9 rpg, 2.1 bpg
Key St. Louis Roleplayers:
Brian Conklin, Sophomore, Forward, 6.0 ppg, 3.5 rpg
Justin Jordan, Freshman, Guard, 5.2 ppg, 1.7 apg
Cory Remekun, Freshman, Forward, 1.5 ppg, 1.7 rpg
Jon Smith, Freshman, Forward, 2.6 ppg, 2.9 rpg
Why The Billikens Can Surprise:
For the most part the names are different, but this is still a Saint Louis team that wins with its defense. Coach Rick Majerus would not have it any other way. The stellar defense can be credited to the entire team, which can go nine or ten deep on any given night. However, it is the shot blocking ability of Willie Reed that has made it so difficult for the opposition to get easy buckets around the basket. The 6-9, 220 pound sophomore is more than just a major presence under the basket. Reed is also a superb interior scorer and one of the best rebounders in the Atlantic 10.
The shot blocking does not end with Reed. Jon Smith and Cory Remekun are not on the floor very often, nor do they score much, but both are capable of altering shots. Brian Conklin is not much of a shot blocking threat, but the 6-6, 230 pound forward is a decent defender and a much needed secondary interior scoring threat behind Reed.
Why The Billikens Can Disappoint:
There is not an upperclassman that plays any significant role on this team. Kwamain Mitchell is the experienced sophomore leader and that can cause some problems during big games. Yet, Mitchell is easily leading the team with 16.1 points per game and will take all the big shots. Kyle Cassity can handle the ball as well and that has allowed Mitchell to work off the ball more often. Justin Jordan is an explosive point guard and between him and Cassity, Mitchell can almost exclusively work off-the-ball if necessary. Christian Salecich is not as good of a ballhandler as the rest of the guards, but he can be a decent scorer at times. The 6-3 freshman has been inconsistent, but he headed to St. Louis with the reputation of being a quality outside shooter. For the most part he has not been, but if his shot starts falling, he can be a big-time scorer.
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Who To Watch for St. Louis:
The Billikens turned into a really dangerous team when Cody Ellis started playing in early January. The 6-8 Australian immediately turned into the team’s most prolific outside shooter and added a much needed third scoring threat behind Mitchell and Reed. As a freshman who has only played half a season, Ellis is still learning the ropes and he gets better with every game. Yet, like the rest of the team, he is young and inconsistent and in March all it takes is one bad game for your season to be over.
St. Louis By the Numbers:
Scoring Offense: 63.8 (277th in nation, 14th in conference)
Scoring Defense: 59.7 (10, 2)
Field-Goal Percentage: 43.8 (160, 7)
Field-Goal Defense: 39.9 (35, 4)
Three-Point Field Goals Per Game: 6.3 (154, 7)
Three-Point Field-Goal Percentage: 33.5 (190, 6)
Free-Throw Percentage: 61.9 (320, 13)
Rebound Margin:-2.5 (266, 10)
Assists Per Game: 12.5 (205, 12)
Turnovers Per Game: 13.3 (136, 6)