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NCAA Tournament: Missouri Tops St. Louis Area College Hoops Power Rankings

With March Madness less than two weeks away, we go through the Division One programs that the Saint Louis area likes to call their own to review where their season went well, how it went to hell, and where they will go from here.

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1) Missouri - Mike Anderson has two different Mizzou Tigers (22-8) teams on his hands—2-7 on the road, 20-1 at home or on a neutral court. The good news is that the Tigers will not have to play a road game in the NCAA Tournament, but they will have to count on Kim English to provide some sort of consistency. Side note: Marcus Denmon: Underrated.
Plus: Ranking 20th in the country in offensive efficiency and ninth in the country in turnover percentage on defense, the Tigers continue to employ a mix that can make them a very dangerous team.
Minus: Defensive rebounding. Mizzou ranks 302 out of 345 D-1 programs in offensive rebounding percentage allowed.
Postseason hopes: NCAA Sweet Sixteen is probable, Elite Eight is possible.

2) Illinois - A Final Four dark horse at the beginning of the year, the Fighting Illini (18-12) have instead fallen out of the rankings completely and put together one of the more inconsistent seasons in the country. They can beat North Carolina, or they can lose to University of Illinois at Chicago. The nice thing about them is that you can usually tell in the first three minutes of a game whether or not they have the intensity to compete that evening, and whether you should watch their game or catch up on your Evening Shade re-runs.
Plus: Extremely effective beyond the arc on both sides of the ball, Illinois ranks 20th in the country in three point percentage (39%) and 13th in three point percentage allowed (30.3%).
Minus: Getting to the line. They rank 328th in the country in Free Throw Rate (FTA/FGA) at 29.5. Bringing in athletic players who can drive like Jereme Richmond and Brandon Paul was supposed to solve the problems Bruce Weber's teams annually have in getting to the free throw line. Unfortunately, they are not used in a manner that would help fix it.
Postseason hopes: Teetering on the bubble, Illinois needs to beat Indiana on Saturday and win one Big Ten Tournament game to solidify an eight seed in the NCAA. From there, they're one and done.

3) Missouri State - MSU (23-7) won their school's first Missouri Valley Conference regular season championship this season under head coach and East Saint Louis native Cuonzo Martin. Unfortunately, in a down year for the MVC the regular-season champions will need to win the conference tournament to avoid a bubble-filled evening on Selection Sunday.
Plus: Defensive rebounding. MSU ranks 13th in the country in offensive rebound percentage allowed (27.4%).
Minus: Defensive pressure. The Bears are 300th in turnover percentage nationally (17.8%).
Postseason hopes: If the Bears win the MVC tournament, they're a comfortable six seed with good potential for a win or two. A loss at Arch Madness this weekend could send them to the NIT.

4) Saint Louis University - The season was pretty much lost when two of the Bilikens best players, Kwamain Mitchell and Willie Reed, were kicked out of school for doing what college basketball players do with co-eds all across the land. SLU went 12-17 in head coach Rick Majerus's fourth and most disappointing season.
Plus: The Bilikins rank first in the country in defensive three point attempt percentage (3PA/FGA), with a low 21.3 percent.
Minus: Offensive rebounding. SLU ranks 280th with a 29.1 offensive rebounding percentage.
Postseason hopes: Rick Majerus has his eye on the prize. The prize being the Pointersaurus at Pointers Pizza.

5) Southern Illinois - The disappointing Salukis are 13-18 on the year after defeating Illinois State University Thursday night, and take on number one seed Missouri State today at 12:05 CST in the MVC tournament in downtown Saint Louis.
Plus: The Salukis did not do much well this season, but did rank 21st nationally with a 6.8% block percentage.
Minus: Miserable beyond the arc, SIU ranked 286th nationally with a 31.7% three point percentage, and was just as bad on defense beyond the arc, ranking 283rd and allowing a 36.6 3P%.
Postseason hopes: None. Besides a washers tourney or something.

6) Southeast Missouri State - The Redhawks went 10-22 on the season, winning one Ohio Valley tournament game over Eastern Kentucky Wednesday night before losing to number three seed Austin Peay Thursday night.
Plus: The Redhawks were impressive getting to the line in 2011, ranking 11th in the country with a Free Throw Rate of 47.9.
Minus: The Redhawks may have gotten to the line at a prodigious rate, but they stunk once they got there, shooting only 61.9%, good for 333rd in the nation.
Postseason hopes: Who needs postseason basketball when you have spring in lovely Cape Girardeau to look forward to?

7) Southern Illinois University at Edwardsville - The Cougars ended their continuation to a true D-1 program at 8-21. Things don't look any easier next season as they will take on the likes of Illinois, Illinois State, Bradley, as well as a full slate against their new conference, the Ohio Valley (SIUE went 0-9 against OVC foes this campaign.) 
Plus: Not the worst team in America! Suck it Grambling, Centenary, and Southern!
Minus: Fourth worst in the country in offensive efficiency (83.8), twelfth worst in defensive efficiency (113.5).
Postseason hopes: Still not postseason eligible at the D-1 level, the SIUE players do have a spring of avoiding the massive amounts of goose poop that covers their campus to look forward to.

(All stats via the tremendous website known as