Another test for Billikens

Another test for Billikens

Credit: AP

Oklahoma forward Andrew Fitzgerald (4) battles Saint Louis forward Brian Conklin (14) for the loose ball during the second half in the championship game of the 76 Classic NCAA college basketball tournament in Anaheim, Calif., on Sunday, Nov. 27, 2011. Saint Louis won 83-63. (AP Photo/Alex Gallardo)

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by Jeff Abeln

KMOV.com

Posted on January 27, 2012 at 5:19 PM

Updated Friday, Jan 27 at 5:19 PM

(KMOV) -- What the Billikens accomplished Wednesday beating Xavier on the road was just what they needed to help push them towards a NCAA Tournament berth come March, but if they fall flat on their faces Saturday at UMass, that great victory over Xavier won’t mean much. 

To say this is the biggest game of the season for the Bills wouldn’t be a stretch, and that’s only because of the win over Xavier.   UMass comes in at 15-5 overall, has 65 RPI, and whenever you play on the road, anything can happen.  SLU should win this game, but it won’t be easy.   UMass is 10-0 at home. 

One of Massachusetts’ strengths is rebounding.  They rank 6th in the country in that category so Brian Conklin and company must establish a down-low presence right away.  It appears if you shutdown sophomore guard Chaz Williams, you most likely will win the game.  He’s the Minutemen’s leading scorer at 15.9 ppg, but in three of the Minutemen’s five loses, the opposition held Williams to 10 points or less. 

Extra note…

Brian Conklin is 21 points shy 1,000 for his career.    This season he has scored 291 points, 20 points more than all of last year.  Conklin will become SLU’s 26th player in school history to reach that mark. 

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