Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Slu's Schedule Is Bogus Bill in Ncaa's Eyes

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Slu's Schedule Is Bogus Bill in Ncaa's Eyes

Article excerpt

St. Louis University took another big step toward the NCAA Tournament on Wednesday night, but national skepticism remains. Is this truly an elite basketball team?

Iowa State forward Julius Michalik, a 6-foot-11 junior, pondered the question.

"That's difficult to say," he said finally. "When we play against MU or KU, they played a much different style. It's difficult to say."

Michalik seemed flummoxed by Spoonball. The Billikens didn't look like much in warm-ups, but they routed the Cyclones 90-75 by dogging them on "`D" and raining 3-point jumpers on their heads.

"I can say they have great shooters and they are difficult to guard against," Michalik said. "We knew they had all those 3-point shooters. I don't know what happened. We couldn't stop those guys when they penetrated and pitched it."

The Bills continue to baffle and amaze. Now 19-1, they scored the eye-grabbing nonconference victory with a Sports Illustrated writer and a Detroit Pistons scout in the house.

It's funny how college basketball fortunes change. Before the season, this home game looked like a handful for the fledgling Billikens. But when game night arrived, the Cyclones were shooting for a watershed upset and No. 17 Bills were trying to bank the should-have victory.

(A qualifier: After an accident shelved standout center Loren Meyer, the Cyclones dissipated into a sporadic gust. They have guys named Julius and Hakeem, but nobody named Erving and Olajuwon. They are reeling.)

While giddy Bills fans already are debating where their heroes will be seeded in the Big Show, they still must haul tail to get there. They must win at Dayton and Memphis State. And they had better split their four games against Great Midwest Conference powers Cincinnati and Alabama-Birmingham.

A 4-2 finish would leave them 23-3 going into the Great Midwest Conference tournament. A first-round victory there would finally thrust the Bills over the top with 24 victories. Anything less and the NCAA could jilt this team that's fighting for respect.

"That takes time," Cyclones coach Johnny Orr said. "We fought that for years in the Big Eight. …

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