The Atlantic 10 Conference has a slew of programs that are more well-known than the Saint Louis Billikens. One such program is the Butler Bulldogs. Butler is coached by Brad Stevens, already has a Final Four in their repertoire, and has become America’s favorite mid-major.
Then there is the VCU Rams. The Rams are led by the charismatic Shaka Smart, have “The Havoc”, and is quickly becoming one of the better basketball programs in the nation.
That leaves Saint Louis as mostly an afterthought.
Although, they shouldn’t be — at least not this year. The Billikens are coached by Jim Crews, who is in his first year with the team. Crews is not the man in charge out of want — it happened more out of need. After Rick Majerus had to leave the program for health reasons, Crews got slapped with the interim tag and off the team went.
Also, if you are old enough, you might remember Crews as a member of the 1976 Indiana Hooisers team — the last team to go unbeaten in college basketball.
Thanks to being overshadowed by more “known” mid-majors (ironic, eh), Saint Louis is still going widely unnoticed despite winning the A-10 regular season title. They have beaten Butler and VCU, but still, nobody seems to care.
However, all of that might end later today when they go up against VCU in the A-10 Tournament final.
Saint Louis doesn’t need to win this game, as they already have a pair of NCAA Tournament dancing slippers awaiting them. Yet, it feels like they deserve it. That is not saying that the Rams do not, but that the Billikens have been so good for the entire season, that if they were not to win it, all the doubters of the program would be telling us how they were right about this team not being that good.
Stevens has been quoted as saying that he thinks Saint Louis has as good a shot as any to win the entire NCAA Tournament. That is some really great praise by a man who knows what it takes to go to the Final Four.
So, are we paying attention to the Billikens yet?
Joe is a Senior Writer for Rant Sports. For the love of Sam Cassell, follow Joe on the mean streets of Twitter @JosephNardone