A Look Down the Stretch for Billikens Basketball

The Saint Louis Billikens basketball program has proven that they can be a top 25 team in the country should they remain competitive for the rest of the season. Fordham and La Salle were proven to be no match for the Billikens as both lost by more than 20.

The next three-game stretch against Dayton, VCU, and Richmond will determine their fate by the time March rolls around against George Mason. A loss to either squad will hurt their chances of being ranked because Saint Louis had the 184th toughest schedule this season.

Dayton – February 19th

The Billikens have a preference for shooting closer to the basket than behind the arc. Saint Louis is 28th in the country in field goal percent while Dayton ranks 78th on defense. Rebounding should not a problem because the Billikens rank 3rd in the nation in second-chance points.

Dayton on offense can be a problem for Saint Louis as the Billikens suffered a close loss 76-71 on January 26th. They are nationally ranked 17th in overall field goal conversion rate. However, they are ranked 282nd in second-chance points.

Saint Louis is 194th nationally in-game pace, meanwhile, Dayton is 328th maintains a much slower pace. Both squads create similar opportunities from the charity stripe.

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VCU – February 23rd

VCU has one of the better defenses in the nation holding the 50th spot. VCU suffers when it comes to eliminating second-chance opportunities, and struggles in the department in defensive second-chance conversion percentage ranking #226 in that category.

Both sides should force a good amount of turnovers when on defense. An issue for the Billikens is VCU ranks 98th in free throw opportunities and is 49th in the nation in converting them (76.1%). Saint Louis commits a significant number of fouls which ranks them 265th in the country in defensive free throw attempt rate.

Richmond –  February 26th

Richmond ranks 29th in offensive efficiency and ranks and is 11th in field goal percentage. Richmond ranks 288th in second chance conversion percentage and has difficulty obtaining offensive rebounds.

On the defensive end, Richmond is decent on that side of the court. They rank 85th in defensive efficiency. The club is ranked 31st in defensive field goal attempt rate. They also allow very few fastbreak opportunities which translate to fewer turnovers throughout the course of the season. Lastly, Richmond ranks 107th in pace which is not a huge advantage.

George Mason – March 2nd

George Mason is the weakest opponent in the Billikens’ remaining schedule as they are currently 2-4 on the road (5-6 Conference). This team is 182nd in field goal percentage. On top of that, they are 108th in converting second chance points percentage.

George Mason is definitely more efficient on the defensive end compared to their offense. The team does a great job in denying the oppositions of offensive rebounds and second chances points. George Mason also does a good job by avoiding to make careless fouls and minimizing the damage from the free-throw line.

Final Thoughts

The main issue to note is Saint Louis has some games where the opponents outrebound them when the matter is they have no reason to do so. The team needs to crash the boards to win comfortably. Many experts currently have them as an 8th seed for the tournament.

Ideally going 4-0 would be great to end the 2020 NCAAB season to make a strong point to be ranked in the top 25. The Saint Louis Billikens have the second-best home record in the conference (10-1) due to the one loss. Saint Bonaventure has the only perfect record (6-0) in the Atlantic 10.