The experts really like the potential of Saint Louis University going into the NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament. It's that time of year again and everybody is looking for that one upset team ready to create the next historic Cinderella story. It could be SLU this year for many reasons. With a great resume, the Billikens come in as one of the top small school teams ready to wreak havoc on your bracket. You could consider the Billkens to be like the Jeep Wrangler of the 21st Insurance March Madness brackets. They aren't flashy but there are ever reliable and won't let you down.
The Strengths of the SLU Billikens
The major strength leading the Billikens to a top 20 ranking is how well they play as a team. They may not have a stand out star like many other teams do, but they stress teamwork and deliver night in and night out. In a recent win over Troy twelve different players scored, which shows their balance. This makes them a very dangerous team going into the tournament.
Something else the Billikens stress is defense. Coach Jim Crews is a self-proclaimed "old-school guy" and stresses playing lots and lots of defense. Teams find it hard to score against SLU because of the team defense they play and this can wear down even the best teams out there.
With stress placed on both teamwork and defense, the Billikens find themselves ranked and ready for a run in the tournament. They don't really care which player scores on the offensive side and they might be the best team when it comes to finding the open man. This is a true team playing as a team and this makes them very dangerous.
The SLU Resume
The Billikens need to be considered when you fill out your bracket this year. Here's a quick breakdown of how they stack up:
Two wins in four days over ranked teams (VCU and AT Butler)
Ranked 18th in the country
Top Atlantic-10 Team
Beat #14 Ranked University of New Mexico
Won 9 straight and 10 straight during the season
Have shown the ability to play and win from behind
SLU has a great chance to win the Atlantic-10 Conference Championship, but even if they don't, they will probably get an at-large bid into the tournament. Your bracket will most likely feature the Billikens, as a #6 or #7 seed and they could be that sneaky team capable of making it to the elite eight or Final Four.
Should You Pick SLU?
Looking at the possibilities the March Madness bracket presents this year, it's safe to pencil in SLU as a win in the first round. Of course, it's never a "sure thing", but this team has the right attitude, they play tough defense and they play as a team. The difficult pick comes in the second and third round, when they could play a much better opponent. Lat year they won a 1st round upset over Memphis and fell short in a close game against #1 seeded Michigan State.
The strengths of this team make them very dangerous because everybody is involved. Opponents have to guard everybody and the tough defense SLU plays can wear out teams quickly. If you're looking for a potential deep run from the Billikens, you could be right. Many experts think this team has a good chance to make the sweet sixteen and if you pick them, you could be the only one in your pool with all the points they might provide.
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