Saint Louis Butler

NCAA Tournament Cheat Sheet: Getting to Know Saint Louis

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Read through the rest of the Cheat Sheets here.

Conference: Atlantic 10

Coach: Jim Crews

Record: 27-6, 13-3

Rankings and Ratings:

– Kenpom: 17
– RPI: 22
– AP/USA Today: 16/16

Seeding?: Our Dave Ommen has the Billikens as a No. 5-seed in the midwest in his latest bracket projection, but with wins over Butler and VCU en route to the Atlantic 10 tournament championship, the Billikens could rise to as high as the No. 3-seed.

Names you need to know: Dwayne Evans (13.6 ppg, 7.7 rpg, 1.3 spg, .533 FG%), Cody Ellis (10.3 ppg, 3.5 rpg), Kwamain Mitchell (10.0 ppg, 2.4 rpg, 3.1 apg, 1.4 spg), Mike McCall Jr. (10.0 ppg, .423 3PT%),

Stats you need to know: The Billikens are a top-40 team nationally in terms of effective turnover percentage, both on the offensive and defensive ends of the court. What that means is that Saint Louis is really good at forcing turnovers and really difficult to take the ball from. Guards Mike McCall Jr. and Jordair Jett rank nationally in field goal efficiency and effective field goal percentage.

Tendencies: Saint Louis plays from the inside out. They use big men Cody Ellis and Rob Loe on the perimeter, and send 6-foot-5 forward Dawyne Evans to the low block. They like shooting from the outside and working the ball down low. On defense they are hard to crack. They don’t make mistakes and look to force turnovers with suffocating pressure.

Big wins, bad losses: Saint Louis beat Butler three times this season, including a 17-point drubbing when the Bulldogs were ranked inside the top-10. During non-conference play the knocked off New Mexico at The Pit, one of the most difficult venues to earn a road win from. They do have two bad losses, including a 12-point loss to Santa Clara in the second game of the season, and an overtime loss to Atlantic 10 bottom-feeder Rhode Island.

How’d they get here?: The Billikens played their best basketball of the season in Brooklyn en route to an Atlantic 10 tournament championship. They have won 15 of their last 16 games, and have not lost in regulation since January 12th.

Outlook: This is a team that can legitimately make the Final Four. Yes, they lack elite athleticism and NBA frontcourt size, but Saint Louis is stocked with upperclassmen and versatile players. Dwayne Evans is a match-up problem for most teams, and the Billikens won’t beat themselves. This team can definitely make a deep run in March.

How Do I know you? The Billikens return to the Big Dance for the second straight season, and first under Jim Crews. But prior to their appearance last season, the Billikens went 11 years without making the NCAA tournament.

You can contact Troy Machir on Twitter at @TroyMachir

POSTERIZED: Pensacola State’s Jamal Thomas dunks through block attempt, makes coach go nuts

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A solid poster dunk went down in the junior college ranks last night as Pensacola State sophomore Jamal Thomas finished a dunk through a block attempt against Northwest Florida State.

The 6-foot-3 Thomas used his power and momentum to go through the opposing shot blocker and the play made his head coach, Pete Pena, go nuts with an over-exaggerated fist pump. The video is short, but be sure to watch for Pena’s reaction near the logo at the top right of the screen.

VIDEO: Boise State robbed of insane, buzzer-beating win on incorrect timing by officials

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It looked like James Webb III of Boise State had hit the season’s craziest buzzer-beater.

With 0.8 seconds left, he caught an in-bounds pass on the run on the right wing, hoisted up a prayer of a three and watched as it banked it as the buzzer sounded.

It’s pretty fantastic:

And it also clearly left his hands before time expired, but there was a reason for that. According to the officials, the clock (for the road team, mind you) did not start when the ball was caught.

They were right.

Where they were wrong was determining that it took more than a second for Webb to catch and release the shot, meaning that they were wrong to waive off the bucket.

This awesome slo-mo clip of the shot from Matt Stephens of the Coloradoan is all the evidence I need, but if you need more, Sportscenter anchor Scott Van Pelt clocked it at 0.7 seconds:

The game would go to overtime, where Colorado State would go on to win, 97-93.

As you can imagine, Boise State players and coaches were livid with the call.

“I hope it’s not a situation where you get an apology later but don’t get the win. I don’t understand it,” head coach Leon Rice said in a radio interview after the game. “I hope they got it right somehow, some way. I don’t know. It didn’t look right to me, but I’m not the official.”

This comes just four days after officials blew a call in a game between New Mexico and San Diego State that allowed the Aztecs to force overtime and eventually beat the Lobos. (That call may have determined the outcome of the Mountain West regular season title, to boot.)

New Mexico was essentially told, “my bad”, but the league as a result.

And Boise State will probably get the same treatment despite the fact that, if the league determines that the referees botched this call as well, the tame technically was over then.

Will they have the guts to award the Broncos a road win that they earned and deserve?

I doubt it.

UPDATE: Here’s a statement from the officiating crew: