The VCU Rams will enter the 2013-14 college basketball season by being ranked No. 15 in the USA Today Coaches Poll. Saint Louis won the Atlantic 10 last year, but aren’t even ranked in the Coaches Poll entering the season. Are the Billikens really that much worse than the Rams?
Saint Louis beat VCU twice last season. It also won the regular season conference title and the A 10 conference tournament.
Unfortunately, the Billikens will be losing some talent. Both Kwamain Mitchell and Cody Ellis will be gone. That hurts quite a bit considering Mitchell averaged 10.6 points per game and Ellis averaged 10.1 points per game. Other than Dwayne Evans, the leading scorer, no one else averaged in double-digits in points.
VCU will be losing some talent as well. Darius Theus and Troy Daniels are gone. Daniels was one of the best three-point shooters last season and his 124 made three-pointers proved that. He also averaged 12.3 points per game. Theus averaged 6.8 points per game, 4.8 assists per game and 2.4 steals per game.
As you can see, both teams will be losing key players. However, VCU gets its two best players back and Saint Louis only gets its best player back. The Rams will also have a lot of depth.
The Billikens were a great defensive team last year and the Rams were a great offensive team. Both should be the case in the 2013-14 season.
VCU definitely has more talent coming back, but that does not mean Saint Louis is not going to compete for a conference title. The Rams are getting a bunch of hype and they are worth every bit of it.
Saint Louis could have made a case to be ranked in the top 25, but it is not that big of a deal. Once conference play starts we will get to see who is the better team. Until that happens, VCU probably is that much better than the Billikens–at least on paper.