(KMOV.com) -- Who could have seen this coming? Sure, Jim Crews inherited a nice team from the late Rick Majerus, and the Billikens were expected to have a solid season. But I didn’t hear anybody predict them to win the Atlantic 10 conference title, or be ranked in the top 20 at the end of the regular season.
Crews did a superb job of coaching, keeping the team together under trying circumstances. His laid back demeanor was perfect for the situation. Now he’s been named National Coach of the Year by the Sporting News. He had already been named Coach of the Year in the Atlantic 10.
The Billikens wrapped up their regular season with a lopsided win over a very good La Salle team on Saturday. That puts the SLU record at 24-6 entering the conference tournament. If they can pick up another victory or two this weekend in Brooklyn they should get a #4 seed in the NCAA tournament.
The Billikens are one of the top defensive teams in the country, and have figured out how to slow down even the most potent offensive attacks. If you need confirmation of that, ask Shaka Smart about how the Bills confounded his Virginia Commonwealth team.
Interest in Billikens basketball hasn’t reached this level since the height of the Spoonball era in the early 90’s. Chaivetz Arena was packed for many games this season. Rick Majerus deserves much of the credit for putting this program back on track, but Jim Crews has skillfully kept it there.
Can there be any doubt at this point that he’ll be offered the job on a full time basis at the end of this season? Why hasn’t it happened already? Is there any possible way a guy could be the National Coach of the Year and not be offered the job? Probably not. It’s just a matter of time. Crews doesn’t want the distraction of his situation to be factor in the post-season.
But even if the Billikens don’t win another game, Jim Crews should be given a long term contract to stay at Saint Louis University.