NCAA BK

Wed, Mar 6, 2013 - 9:00 PM ET
Game Preview
 

Saint Louis-Xavier Preview

Share This Story

   
 

It's been 42 seasons since Saint Louis last earned a share of a conference title.

The No. 16 Billikens can clinch at least a piece of the Atlantic 10 crown with a 12th straight victory Wednesday night at similarly defensive-minded Xavier.

Saint Louis (23-5, 12-2) leads No 21 Virginia Commonwealth by one game and can also gain the top seed in the conference tournament with a victory Wednesday. This is its longest win streak since a 14-game run in 1993-94.

The Billikens last earned at least a share of a league title when they tied for first in the Missouri Valley Conference in 1970-71.

"It's an exciting time in college basketball, and we're in the midst of that in terms of playing for a lot of things," interim coach Jim Crews said.

Saint Louis is limiting opponents to a conference-low 57.9 points per game, with Xavier (16-12, 8-6) second in that department at 62.3. The Musketeers have the Atlantic 10's best mark in defensive field-goal percentage at 40.8.

"We've got a really good opponent in Xavier," Crews said. "They're a really good team. Chris (coach Chris Mack) does a good job over the years, they're well set up."

If there's a reason for the similarity in style, it could be that Mack played for Crews at Evansville for two seasons before transferring to Xavier for his final two.

"I see a big challenge," Mack said. "I see a veteran ballclub that understands each other's strengths as teammates. They're obviously incredibly well-coached."

The Billikens won 66-58 at George Washington last Saturday. Dwayne Evans had 22 points and 12 rebounds and Kwamain Mitchell added 18 points.

Evans notched his second straight double-double after collecting 21 points and 12 boards Wednesday against Saint Joseph's.

Mitchell is the lone senior starter for Saint Louis, which has five players averaging at least 9.3 points and is led by Evans at 12.6.

"It's been interesting to watch their development over the course of their careers," Mack said. "Seeing Kwamain Mitchell come in as a freshman and seeing the growth of the entire program and those kids and how they've bonded together and become one of the toughest teams in all of college basketball."

Saint Louis had dropped seven straight meetings to Xavier before sweeping two in the 2011-12 regular season. The Musketeers gained revenge by winning 71-64 in the A-10 tournament semifinals in the teams' most recent matchup.

Xavier's top five scorers from that team are gone, and its streak of seven straight NCAA appearances is in jeopardy.

There is hope for the future behind Semaj Christon, who leads all conference freshmen by averaging 15.0 points and is second among them in assists by averaging 4.6. His 6.1 free-throw attempts per game are second in the A-10.

"He's got a lot of God-given ability in terms of his length, his quickness, his vision is extraordinary," Crews said. "So he certainly presents a lot of problems to every team and ours also."

Xavier split two home games last week, winning 64-62 over then-No. 19 Memphis on Tuesday and falling 77-72 to Massachusetts on Saturday. Christon was true to form with 30 total points.

Tagged: Saint Louis, Xavier, Kwamain Mitchell, Dwayne Evans

Related Stories

Member Comments

Please note by clicking on "Post comment" you acknowledge that you have read the Terms of Use and the comment you are posting is in compliance with such terms. Be Polite. Inappropriate posts may be removed by the moderator.

powered by



NCAA BK Videos

Georgetown, Syracuse to renew CBK rivalry Posted: Jun 10, 2014
Georgetown basketball coach John Thompson III on the renewal of the rivalry betw...

Cuonzo Martin new head coach at Cal Posted: Apr 16, 2014
Cuonzo Martin is introduced as Cal's new head coach.

UConn tops Notre Dame in women's final Posted: Apr 09, 2014
Hear from Geno Auriemma and his players after their National Championship victor...

More Than Sports on MSN

Fox Sports Store

    itemName itemURL imageSrc price itemDescription
    Nike Florida Gators #1 Replica Elite Basketball Jersey - Black http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Florida_Gators/browse/featuredproduct/885881/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_885000/ff_885881_xl.jpg&w=100 74.95 Nike Florida Gators #1 Replica Elite Basketball Jersey - Black
    Nike Georgetown Hoyas #22 Hyper Elite Road Performance Jersey - Navy Blue http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Georgetown_Hoyas/browse/featuredproduct/1030243/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_1030000/ff_1030243_xl.jpg&w=100 119.95 Nike Georgetown Hoyas #22 Hyper Elite Road Performance Jersey - Navy Blue
    Nike Duke Blue Devils #5 Tourney Takeover Replica T-Shirt - Duke Blue http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Duke_Blue_Devils/browse/featuredproduct/1032710/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_1032000/ff_1032710_xl.jpg&w=100 27.95 Nike Duke Blue Devils #5 Tourney Takeover Replica T-Shirt - Duke Blue
    Nike Oregon Ducks X-Ray Ball T-Shirt - Green http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Oregon_Ducks/browse/featuredproduct/1052002/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_1052000/ff_1052002_xl.jpg&w=100 24.95 Nike Oregon Ducks X-Ray Ball T-Shirt - Green
    Nike Ohio State Buckeyes Road Warrior Tri-blend T-Shirt - Scarlet http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Ohio_State_Buckeyes/browse/featuredproduct/1052645/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_1052000/ff_1052645_xl.jpg&w=100 29.95 Nike Ohio State Buckeyes Road Warrior Tri-blend T-Shirt - Scarlet
    Indiana Hoosiers 2013 NCAA Men\'s Basketball Road to March Madness T-Shirt - Crimson http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Indiana_Hoosiers/browse/featuredproduct/1124528/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_1124000/ff_1124528_xl.jpg&w=100 19.95 Indiana Hoosiers 2013 NCAA Men\'s Basketball Road to March Madness T-Shirt - Cri..
    adidas Louisville Cardinals 2013 March Madness #10 Premier Swingman Jersey - Red http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Louisville_Cardinals/browse/featuredproduct/1127200/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_1127000/ff_1127200_xl.jpg&w=100 89.95 adidas Louisville Cardinals 2013 March Madness #10 Premier Swingman Jersey - Red
    adidas Notre Dame Fighting Irish 2013 March Madness #45 Premier Swingman Jersey - White http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Notre_Dame_Fighting_Irish/browse/featuredproduct/1127218/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_1127000/ff_1127218_xl.jpg&w=100 89.95 adidas Notre Dame Fighting Irish 2013 March Madness #45 Premier Swingman Jersey ..
    Nike Gonzaga Bulldogs March Madness Bracketville T-Shirt - Navy Blue http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Gonzaga_Bulldogs/browse/featuredproduct/1155821/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_1155000/ff_1155821_xl.jpg&w=100 24.95 Nike Gonzaga Bulldogs March Madness Bracketville T-Shirt - Navy Blue
    Top of the World Miami Hurricanes 2013 NCAA ACC Men’s Basketball Tournament Champions Adjustable Hat – Green http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Miami_Hurricanes/browse/featuredproduct/1177723/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_1177000/ff_1177723_xl.jpg&w=100 25.95 Top of the World Miami Hurricanes 2013 NCAA ACC Men’s Basketball Tournament Cham..