Billikens-Owls collide in vital A-10 matchup

The Sports Xchange previews an important matchup in Atlantic 10 play between Saint Louis and Temple on Wednesday.

It will be an interesting matchup on the perimeter when Saint Louis plays host to Temple on Jan. 11.

The Billikens were ranked third in the Atlantic 10 Conference from 3-point range through Jan. 8, shooting 39.1 percent from behind the arc. The Owls led the league in 3-point defense, allowing opponents only a 28.7 success rate.

At the other end of the court, the Owls were shooting 39.4 percent on 3-pointers, second in the conference. The Billikens were allowing only 30.4 success against them, which was third best in the A-10.

Saint Louis coach Rick Majerus, however, wasn't sure of the significance of those numbers.

"Shooting the 3 is sometimes misleading," Majerus said. "Your statistics are against who and in what situations. When there's a bigger lead or a lesser opponent, it's much easier to shoot a 3.

"In terms of defending Temple from 3, that's problematic because they spread the floor so well, having excellent spacing, that they really play well off each other. And they're unselfish."

The key, Majerus said, will simply be sticking close to the potential shooters.

The Billikens' game against the Owls at home will be followed to trip to Charlotte on Jan. 14.

STRATEGY AND PERSONNEL

vs. Temple, Jan. 11

KEY MATCHUPS: This will be a big test for the Billikens in the backcourt. The Owls have three guards, Ramone Moore, Khalif Wyatt and Juan Fernandez, capable of carrying a team, as evidenced by Temple's win over Duke. The Owls are not deep up front, but they have seen freshman Anthony Lee continue to develop to complement Rahlir Hollis-Jefferson inside.

FUTURES MARKET: Junior F Cody Ellis was shooting 44.4 percent from the field for the season through Jan. 8, but he had gone in a slump. In the games against New Mexico, Dayton and George Washington, he was a combined 8-for-27 from the field. It's too soon to be overly concerned, but Ellis will be counted on for some valuable minutes in the grind of conference play, and he needs to be a consistent contributor.


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