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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

Henry Ellenson wins Marquette Madness dunk contest

Steve Wojciechowski
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Marquette freshman forward Henry Ellenson won the Marquette Madness slam dunk contest on Friday night with a between the legs dunk.

The 6-foot-10 Ellenson, the top recruit in Steve Wojciechowski’s freshmen class, defeated sophomore Sandy Cohen, fellow freshman Sacar Anim and Wally Ellenson, his older brother.

Ellenson joins the Golden Eagles as the No. 11 overall recruit in the Class of 2015.

Bill Self signs $10,000 check for KU student


Late Night in the Phog is typically a night to remember for Kansas fans. For Kansas student Jerrod Martin Castro, Friday night’s event is one he won’t forget.

Castro, a sophomore, was selected as a contestant for a $10,000 giveaway. The only thing standing in the way of a big payday was a half-court shot. Brennan Bechard, the Kansas director of basketball operations, attempted the long-distance shot and hit nothing but net.

Kansas head coach Bill Self signed a $10,000 check on the spot.