On Friday, the Saint Louis Billikens exceeded everyone's 2012 NCAA Tournament expectations permanently. Wherever else they go from here, by taming the Memphis Tigers they've successfully ruined some 2012 NCAA brackets in Tennessee and gone farther than anyone outside Missouri expected them to. Which is great. But on Sunday they'll have to play the No. 1-seeded Michigan State Spartans, and the expectations have temporarily and half-heartedly increased. How could they pull off one of this year's biggest March Madness updates? Bernie Miklasz, in a great column about the win, encapsulates it in two bullet points:
- Eliminate fast-break baskets.
- Make [them] run [their] offense deep into the clock.
In 2012 the Memphis Tigers averaged 75 points per game. Friday, they scored 54—right below SLU's average points-allowed. The Spartans, fifth in the nation, averaged 72 points a game this year. If they score 72 Sunday, SLU's probably going to have its pleasant run end after one round. If they score 54—well.
More SLU coverage from SB Nation St. Louis:
- Rick Majerus was crowned SLUperman Friday night. (Later he joked that it was "probably a restaurant owner.")
- Barack Obama picked Memphis to beat SLU. Newt Gingrich is probably trying to find a way to use this right now.
- Most importantly, the Billikens are finally on the board again, for the first time since 1998. Whatever happens—well, at least that happened.