Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Louisville Is Big Test for Undefeated SLU

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Louisville Is Big Test for Undefeated SLU

Article excerpt

The first four games on the St. Louis University schedule offered an opportunity for the Billikens to work out some kinks and re- discover confidence before tackling more challenging opponents.

They took advantage of that scenario by posting four wins before starting a challenging stretch that opens with a meeting with Louisville on Saturday night in Brooklyn.

Mentally speaking, the Billikens are in a good place for what comes next. Coach Jim Crews, on the other hand, was evasive when asked if this is a good time to catch a perennial national power.

"It's a great time because they're next on the schedule," he said. "So, that's what we're going to do. An absolutely perfect time."

Push Crews a little harder and sarcasm gives way to reality.

The Cardinals might be unranked at the moment and picked to finish seventh in the ACC, but they have shown some dominant tendencies against the same opponents SLU has faced.

"Louisville is Louisville for the last 50 years," Crews said. "Fifty years. Not two, but 50. They're extremely long. They physically pound you. They're quick and well coached. ... Everyone has good God-given players and then there's this other stuff. They've got that other stuff. They're exceptionally gifted."

As of Friday, the Billikens and Cardinals were two of the country's 41 undefeated teams. They both have wins over Hartford, St. Francis and North Florida as part of the Brooklyn Hoops Holiday Invitational.

SLU won those games by an impressive average margin of 15.3 points. Louisville won them by 35.7 points.

Although the Billikens have looked considerably better than a year ago to open the season, the challenge at Barclays Center will be significant.

Louisville ranks second in the country in scoring defense, allowing 49.8 points per game. And here's what might be the truly frightening statistic: The Cardinals have averaged 21 more rebounds than their opponents. …

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