Saint Louis Preview

With only three games completed, the Washington Huskies will take to the road to face the Saint Louis Billikens on Sunday at 9 a.m. Pacific Time. The game is televised on CBS College Sports. The game, which was originally scheduled as a homecoming for Scott Suggs, will feature a team picked to finish third in the Atlantic-10 Conference behind Xavier and Temple.

While Suggs, the senior wing from nearby Washington, Mo. will not play in this game due to a broken foot, this game also marks the return of Washington Head Coach Lorenzo Romar to St. Louis. Romar headed up the Billikens' program for three years before returning to his alma mater in the spring of 2002. The 1999-2000 St. Louis team won the Conference USA Tournament Championship, the only time the Billikens have attained such an honor.

Saint Louis, who finished 12-19 last season, is 2-0 so far this season, with wins over Tennessee State and at Southern Illinois. Unlike most teams, they don't rely on one or two players for scoring. Instead, they have six players who share the duties; Brian Conklin, Cody Ellis, Kwamain Mitchell, Kyle Cassity, Mike McCall and Jordair Jett.

Known as a team that scores well in transition and in the post, one of the key guys for both is the 6-foot-6 forward Conklin. A native of Eugene, Ore., Conklin is averaging 12.5 points a game on 67 percent shooting. He also pulls in 4.5 rebounds a game.

Mitchell, who redshirted last year, is perhaps the best all-around player Saint Louis has. At just 5-foot-10, the junior averages nine points, six assists, 5.5 rebounds and one steal a game.

Saint Louis is known to be a well-coached team under the tutelage of Rick Majerus. This can most often be seen in their defensive performances, as they are holding teams to just 26 percent shooting and 39.5 points per game. Just this week, Romar called Majerus 'The Einstein of Basketball Coaching'.

Allowing just 37 and 42 points in their first two games, Saint Louis was one of the top A-10 teams last year in turnover rate forced, offensive rebound rate allowed and opponent's two-point field goal percentage. However, they did have some struggles defending in the post and 3-point shots.

While their offense and defense are solid, perhaps the biggest thing Saint Louis has going for them is experience and familiarity with each other. Losing just Christian Salecich to transfer, the whole team otherwise returns for what was considered a youthful Billikens team last season.

Following their encounter in the Gateway to the West, the Huskies will return back west to face Houston Baptist on Nov. 25 at 3 p.m.


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