First place is on the line tonight when SLU takes on #15 Butler. Update on Shelby Miller, and some Charles Barkley Humor.
The Billikens have their biggest test of the season Friday when they travel to Hinkle Fieldhouse to take on #15 Butler. The Bulldogs are 13-1 at home this season, and coach Brad Stevens will surely have his team fired up after the Billikens won 75-58 at the Chaifetz Arena less than a month ago.
The Billikens ball movement dismantled the favored Bulldogs, ranked 9th at the time. St. Louis scored 26 points off Butler turnovers, including 19 fast break points. Jordair Jett had 19 points, and Dwayne Evans added 15 in the victory.
Butler relies on perimeter shooting. Senior guard Rotnei Clarke has attempted 204 three-point shots, knocking down 43% from beyond the arc.
- Must bring the heat defensively. They lead the A-10 in scoring defense, yielding 57.9 ppg. It caught the Bulldogs off guard in the first meeting, holding them to just 37.5% shooting in the first half. Butler answered with a better 2nd half, but SLU shot 50% from the field for the entire game.
- Win in the paint. The Bills outscored Butler 51-22 in the paint last game. Rob Loe, Grandy Glaze, and Cody Ellis better get their hands dirty.
- Avoid the atmosphere. Butler fans will be heard tonight. Hinkle Fieldhouse, built in 1928, seats 10,000 (similar to Chaifetz) so the volume is loud with fans right on top of the action. Limit the initial damage, take the crowd out of the game, and play sound basketball.
A win would…
SLU is 3-1 vs. ranked foes this season. The Bills have never won four games in one season against ranked opponents.
Saint Louis has won eight in a row, the longest active streak in the Atlantic 10 Conference.
Give the Bills a 1.5 game lead a top the A-10 standings.
Senior forward Cody Ellis needs five more points to become the 27th member of the 1,000 career points club at SLU.
Shelby Miller is expected throw a bullpen session today after Mike Matheny said he would take a few days off for shoulder tightness.
Anyone who’s practiced in late February knows the general soreness felt from the cool “spring” weather. Warming up takes longer; the arm muscles are still working to run on all cylinders. Practicing in the cold flat-out sucks.
While there is no reason to push the soreness, it is important to gradually work through it. Throwing is the only way a shoulder gets used to the early inflammation.
It’s good to hear he’s back. Lather on the Bio-Freeze, get proper treatment and work hard.