The St. Louis Billikens are the No. 2 seed in the Atlantic-10 men's basketball tournament, but Ken Pomeroy's projections are high on the Billikens to win the conference title heading into the NCAA Tournament. They are likely safe to make March Madness anyways, but earning a bit of momentum couldn't be considered a bad thing. They await the winner of Tuesday's first round game between the No. 7 seed La Salle Explorers and No. 10 Richmond Spiders, and the top-seeded Temple Owls are the real threat to their title hopes.
Bill Connelly of SB Nation wrote an excellent Atlantic 10 Tournament Preview, and he brought up just why the numbers like the St. Louis Billikens so much:
Who The Numbers Like
St. Louis. Ken Pomeroy's projections say Rick Majerus' Billikens are the overwhelming favorite, with a 44.1 percent chance of taking home the conference's automatic bid. Temple has a 19.9 percent chance, and everybody else is under nine percent. George Washington has a 0.07 percent chance; so do not put money on the 10-20 Colonials. SLU ranks a staggering 12th overall in Pomeroy's rankings, 37th on offense (powered by great ball control and decent shooting) and 11th on defense (they force both bad shots and turnovers and they rebound well). They are certainly capable of slip-ups -- in December, they lost to Loyola Marymount after whipping the likes of Washington and Oklahoma; just a week and a half ago, they fell at 7-24 Rhode Island -- but despite that, they are the the most consistently sound team in the A10.
The Billikens have plenty of talent, too. Brian Conklin recently made the first-team All-Conference squad, while Kwamain Mitchell earned third-team honors. Conklin and Kyle Cassity also made the All-Academic team, while Jordair Jett earned All-Defensive team honors.
For more on this matchup and the impending March Madness season, check out SB Nation's college hoops news hub. Stay tuned to SB Nation St. Louis for more Billikens' recaps, preview and news updates. Click here for more on the 2012 Atlantic 10 Tournament.