Xavier University Musketeers (16-12, 8-6 A-10) vs. No. 16/15 Saint Louis Billikens (23-5, 12-2 A-10)
Wednesday, March 6, 2013 at 9 p.m.
Location: Cintas Center (10,250) in Cincinnati
Television: Time Warner Cable SportsChannel (Ch. 1311/1311 HD in Ohio; Channel 9 in N. Ky.)
Radio: 700 WLW-AM/ The XU broadcast is also available via iHeart Radio.
The Last Meeting: Xavier 71, St. Louis 64 in A-10 semifinal (March 10, 2012). Xavier advanced to the finals of the Atlantic 10 tournament with the win over Saint Louis.
Scouting the Billikens
Last time out
Saint Louis withstood a second-half rally and defeated George Washington 66-58 last Saturday at the Smith Center in Washington, D.C.
It was the Billikens' 11th win in a row .
Dwayne Evans registered his second straight double-double with 22 points and 12 rebounds. It was his fourth double-double of the year and 16th of his career. Evans was 7-of-13 from the field and 8-of-9 from the line. He also recorded a career-high four steals.
Kwamain Mitchell scored 18 points, 15 of which came in the second half.
Jordair Jett scored 11 points.
SLU was 21-of-24 from the free-throw line, making 15 consecutive at one point. The .875 mark is the Billikens' best shooting performance of the year from the line.
A win at Xavier on Wednesday would ensure the Billikens at least a share of the A-10 regular-season title and a No. 1 seed in the A-10 Men's Basketball Championship in Brooklyn.
Saint Louis enters Wednesday's game on an 11-game winning streak, which is tied for the seventh-longest active streak in the country.
SLU is ranked No. 15 in the USA Today Coaches Poll and No. 16 in the AP Top 25. It is the first time the Billikens have been ranked in back-to-back weeks since the 1993-94 season.
The Bills, who hold a one game lead in the A-10 over VCU, have defeated a school record four ranked foes this season.
The Bills lead the A-10 and are 19th nationally in scoring defense, yielding 57.9 ppg.
SLU is second in the league and 12th nationally in turnover margin (+3.8). It forces opponents into 15.0 turnovers a game, while SLU commits 11.2 turnovers per game.
Saint Louis features a balanced scoring attack, with six players averaging 7.2 points or more per game. The Bills' top three scorers are separated by 1.6 ppg.
Junior forward Dwayne Evans leads the team in scoring (12.6 ppg) and rebounding (7.2 rpg). He is averaging 16.5 ppg during SLU's current 11-game winning streak.
Senior forward Cody Ellis averages 10.6 ppg. He became the 27th Billiken to join the 1,000-point club in the GW tilt.
Junior guard Mike McCall Jr. averaged a team-best 13.5 ppg in SLU's four game vs. ranked opponents. For the year, he scores 10.0 ppg and is tied for the team lead in steals.
Junior guard Jordair Jett has averaged 11.7 ppg during SLU's 11-game winning streak. For the year, he scores 9.9 ppg and leads the team in assists.
In A-10 games, senior guard Kwamain Mitchell averages 9.7 ppg while junior forward Rob Loe averages 8.5 ppg.
The Billikens wrap up the regular season Saturday, March 9, against La Salle at Chaifetz Arena. Game time is scheduled for 12:30 p.m. Billiken seniors Cody Ellis, Femi John, Kwamain Mitchell and Cory Remekun will be recognized in a post-game ceremony.
SLU going for A-10 regular season title
A win Wednesday at Xavier would ensure the Billikens at least a share of the A-10 regular season title.
The last time the Billikens earned at least a share of a conference regular season crown was in 1970-71, when SLU tied for first in the Missouri Valley Conference.
SLU's last outright regular-season conference title was in 1956-57 in the Missouri Valley Conference. In all, the Billikens have won five regular-season conference titles (3 outright, two shared).
Where they're ranked
The Billikens have moved up in both polls this week. They are No. 15 (up from No. 19) in the USA Today coaches poll, and moved up two spots to No. 16 in the AP Top 25.
The No. 15 ranking in the USA Today coaches poll is SLU's best ranking since 1964-65, when they came in at No. 9 in the AP Top 25 on Dec. 29.
It is the first time the Billikens have been ranked in back-to-back weeks since the 1993-94 season, when "SpoonBall" was ranked in nine consecutive weeks to end the season. The highest the Bills got that year was No. 16 on Feb. 28.
Last season, SLU was ranked No. 23 in the AP poll and No. 25 in the USA Today poll Nov. 28 following SLU's title in the 76 Classic. However, the Bills lost their next game at Loyola Marymount and never re-entered the rankings.
Prior to SpoonBall, you have to go back to the 1960s since SLU registered a national ranking. The Billikens were ranked as high as No. 4 (December 8, 1964).
The Billikens were ranked No. 1 in the first-ever AP poll released Jan. 18, 1949. SLU was also No. 1 the next week (Jan. 25).
Xavier enters the game 16-12 overall and 8-6 in the Atlantic 10 Conference.
The Musketeers are coming off a 77-72 loss against UMass at Cintas Center. UMass hit 13 3-pointers, which tied the Cintas Center record for an XU opponent. Freshman Semaj Christon led Xavier with 17 points and six assists.
Xavier junior Isaiah Philmore has averaged 11.0 ppg. over the last eight games, while shooting 61.7 percent (29-of-47) from the field.
Wednesday's game is the fourth straight for the Musketeers in their home arena.
Semaj Christon leads the team in scoring with 15 ppg. He has also dished out a team-leading 123 assists and recorded 38 steals. He earned A-10 Rookie of the Week honors this week, the sixth time this year he has earned the recognition.
Travis Taylor scores 11.8 ppg and pulls down a team-leading 8.6 rpg. Dee Davis scores 8.6 ppg, while Brad Redford scores 7.6 thanks in part to a team-leading 59 treys.
Xavier is first in field goal percentage defense (.408) in the A-10, second in scoring defense (62.3 ppg.), and third in 3-point field goal percentage defense (.324).
XU is second in the A-10 in rebounding margin at +5.2 rpg. and has out-rebounded 16 of its last 18 opponents, including Memphis (45-36) and UMass (41-30) last week.
Xavier leads the all-time series 29-14. Last year, SLU ended Xavier's 43 conference home winning streak with a 73-68 victory at Cintas Center. SLU then defeated the Musketeers 70-59 during the regular season at Chaifetz Arena. However, Xavier prevailed 71-64 in the semifinals of the A-10 Tournament in Atlantic City. Prior to last year, the Musketeers had won seven in a row in the series.
Xavier will honor seniors Brad Redford, Jeff Robinson, and Travis Taylor before the game. Xavier also welcomes back its student crowd, most of whom missed the first three games of the homestand due to Xavier's unusually early Spring Break.