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NCAA Basketball Atlantic 10 BasketballSaint Louis Billikens

Can Saint Louis Throw Themselves Into the A-10 Mix With an Upset Over Butler?

Greg Bartram-USA Today Sports

The chips are in place for the Saint Louis Billikens to put themselves within striking distance in the upper half of the Atlantic 10 Conference.

The only problem however, is the mess that the upper half of the conference is becoming. We know that the A-10 is without a doubt a multiple bid league to the NCAA Tournament, it’s just a matter of how many squads will be dancing come March at this point.

Well, the Billikens have a chance to strengthen their positioning, not only within the upper half of the league, but also in terms of a potential berth within the Big Dance on Thursday. Butler is in town and at 4-1 in the conference, the Bulldogs have an opportunity of their own to sit alone in first place should they pull off a victory at Saint Louis.

As for the Billikens, a 14-5 mark overall and 3-2 record within the conference puts Saint Louis at a pivotal point here on the final day of January. Saint Louis must protect their home court because games like this don’t come around that often. Butler is nationally ranked at No. 9 in the country this week, so a top ten, resume boosting win is at the forefront for the Billikens.

Since the end of November, Saint Louis is 11-2 in their past 13 games, so their resurgence and push for the postseason is on the rise. There is nothing more important than securing a win on Thursday night, especially considering a return trip to Hinkle Fieldhouse is in order later on in the season.

Overall however, Saint Louis needs this win to move to 4-2 in the conference, a mark that would catapult them near the front runners in the league. A loss however, would stick them right around where they already sit in league play, which would equal roughly eighth place.

There’s a lot riding on Thursday night’s contest, so can the Billikens get the job done?


Follow Paul Seaver on Twitter: @PaulSeaverRS