Grading A10 Non-Conference Performances: Saint Louis
After a road loss to Kansas State on Tuesday, the Saint Louis Billikens finish the non-conference slate of their schedule with a 5-7 record. Though they won their first four games of the season, the Billikens proceeded to lose 7 of their next 8 including 5 on their own floor. Needless to say, it was not a pretty start to the season for Saint Louis who will hope to turn things around quickly. The Billikens open up conference play on Saturday when they play Rhode Island on the road.
The only real “good win” that the Billikens managed to pick up in the non-conference was a 70-57 home victory over North Florida. The Ospreys rank 164th according to Kenpom and were a good team that gave many opponents trouble this season. This was Saint Louis’ fourth consecutive win before going on to lose 7 of its next 8. At this point in the season, the Billikens actually looked somewhat promising.
The rest of Saint Louis’ wins in the non-conference were by no means spectacular. The Billikens took down four more opponents by double digits each time, but struggled to get anything going besides that. The bottom line is that Saint Louis needed to find a way to win games against better teams before heading into conference play.
Saint Louis had its fair share of bad losses, as it dropped two games to teams ranked worse than 150th in Kenpom: #163 Indiana St, #236 Tennessee Martin. Those were certainly games that Saint Louis did not want to lose, especially considering the fact that they were on their own floor.
When considering the rest of the Billikens’ schedule, you will see that they had some pretty tough matchups. Louisville, Wichita State, and Kansas State are all very good teams that the Billikens weren’t expected to beat. Though they may seem like bad losses, Morehead State and Southern Illinois have actually put together decent resumes. Overall, Saint Louis had two bad losses, but they certainly should’ve won more games as well.
Saint Louis: D+
The Billikens have undoubtedly ventured far from where they want to be heading into conference play. With a 4-5 home record against primarily mid-major opponents, it’s tough to envision Saint Louis competing in the Atlantic 10 this season. That being said, this team did face some difficult opponents, so it won’t be blindsided by increased competition. It’d be surprising to see the Billikens finish in the top-half of the A10 this year.