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Billikens worth watching

The basketball season is heating up and it’s time to talk hoops!

The Billiken men’s basketball team is 16-2 after a home victory against St. Bonaventure, winning 66-60.

The win against St. Bonaventure gives the Billikens a 10 game win streak, which is something of an expected streak, given that this is the Billikens’ third such streak of nine or more games in just two years.

What’s more impressive about the Billikens’ excellent record is that their only two losses of the season were two close games against Wisconsin and Wichita State, two teams with only one loss between them that grace the top ten of the rankings. The rankings took notice of the Bills’ impressive display, and SLU is now ranked #24 in the country.

Due to SLU’s relatively weak conference opponents, as well as SLU’s level of talent, SLU is not projected to lose again until early March, making yet another run into the NCAA final 68 all but inevitable.

However, if SLU hopes to receive as high of a seeding as they got last year as a #5 in last year’s tournament, they must come close to winning out against their opponents and take the Atlantic 10 crown yet again.

Such a goal puts the onus on the Billikens to pull out the tough road games against teams such as VCU, as well as to maintain their focus and drive against weaker conference opponents. If they do not, they risk falling into a bubble spot or even worse, out of the tournament conversation altogether. The Bills’ composure cannot afford to be lost with the conference competition that they have this year.

But those of us in the UNews fully expect the mature and team-oriented Billikens to maintain their excellent play down this all-important stretch of play, and will reach their third NCAA tournament in as many years.

With the Billikens playing as consistently well as they have been this season and in seasons’ past, we would expect the Bills’ home games to be sold out, or at least for the student sections to be filled, but unfortunately neither are true.

We’re not certain if the poor attendance is a result of poor competition, less-than-perfect scheduling, heavy workloads or all three, but the inevitable result is that the basketball team is playing in front of an apathetic fan base. At the University of Dayton over the break in an early season conference clash between Dayton and the Bills, the arena sold out their tickets. Judging from this season, we know that SLU could pull off such a feat.

Simply put, the Bills are having yet another stellar season and it is up to the players and the fans to keep this beautiful run going.

 

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