Recon: Saint Louis

Recon: Saint Louis

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The History of the Arch-Baron Cup

If you want to get your mouth knocked loose in the Gem City simply mention the city of St. Louis. The animosity between the two towns can be traced back to 1903 when a young man named Dudley Lockwood stole a horse form the property of one of Dayton’s most revered citizens, Count Fredric Harewood (it was originally thought by the denizens of Dayton that Harewood traced his lineage to British royalty, however it turned out he was the self-appointed “Count” of Vandalia’s Ku Klux Klan. An embarrassing inaccuracy indeed).

Lockwood absconded with the stallion back to his family’s modest hovel in Kings Oak, a tiny community on the west side of St. Louis. It was quite uncommon for a man of Lockwood’s stock to possess such a fine steed and word of the horse’s whereabouts quickly found its way back to Count Harewood in Dayton. Harewood, being the enterprising sort, swiftly rounded up a blood-thirsty posse and set course for the Gateway City.

Harewood’s crew encountered many houses of ill-repute and unlicensed gin mills along the way, partaking in their respective services at every opportunity. A year went by and the Harewood gang had only covered twenty-two of the three-hundred and fifty miles to St. Louis. Regrettably, some men had died along the way. Jim Yellowface, the crew’s only Asian-Native American, perished due to dysentery. Elmer Fudge was killed when he fell off a ladder attempting to retrieve a marmalade sandwich from a tree. Most of the other men perished while choking on their own vomit in a whore house.

220px-Joe_hill002Harewood, exasperated, had no choice but to return, sans horse, to his stately manor on Patterson Road. The whole ordeal was forgotten about until Werner “Arch” Harewood, Count Fredric’s great-grandson, found an undelivered letter his great-grandfather wrote to a prostitute in Eaton, Ohio. The document detailed Count Harewood’s journey to St. Louis and his reason for pursuing Dudley Lockwood in the first place. The note moved young Werner to tears and he swore revenge on the entire Lockwood family upon reading the letter.

Werner, then a freshman at the University of Dayton, tracked down the Lockwood family and discovered they were living in the same row house his grandfather was headed for a little over a century ago. Werner rented a car, a burgundy Chevy Malibu, and started on the trek to St. Louis after his last final exam of the fall semester. The Discover Arts major made the journey to St. Louis in just less than three days (he had stopped at every Rax and Red Robin along the highway, and was accidentally locked up overnight in a Steak ‘n Shake bathroom along the way).

Harewood spent a night sitting outside the Lockwood residence, biding his time until an opportunity to strike presented itself. Then, at approximately three in the morning, Werner forced his way into the Lockwood home, made his way up the stairs and slaughtered the entire family – the husband, wife, three girls and male Siamese twins – before turning his gun on himself.

The next morning, the police discovered the note Werner have left in his car. He explained why he had killed the family and expressed regret in not having done so earlier. The cops were confused by the rambling missive, as it mentioned the “Lockwood family” multiple times. A quick search of the city’s property records confirmed that the Lockwood’s did reside in the Kings Oak house for quite some time before selling the property to Hickey Baron in 2004.

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It appeared Werner Harewood had murdered the wrong family. After the amusing mix-up was discovered, the police informed Hickey Baron’s employer, Saint Louis University, of his death and the matter was closed for good, never to be spoken of again. The University was relieved because it had just turned over Baron’s work computer to the FBI, where thousands upon thousands of reprehensible images were stored on the hard drive. Due to Baron’s untimely death, Saint Louis would avoid the bad press that usually results from employing a trafficker in child smut. It seemed a major bullet was dodged due to Mr. Baron’s demise.

The University of Dayton, where Werner “Arch” Harewood matriculated for a semester, and Saint Louis University, which employed Hickey Baron in its Medieval Studies department, decided to make lemonade out of murderous and lecherous lemons. Starting last year, the winner of the each tilt between the two school’s basketball teams is bestowed with the Arch-Baron Cup. Rumor has it that the material for the trophy itself was manufactured by smelting Harewood’s shotgun and Baron’s hard-drive together. Only the lucky few who have felt the Cup truly know for sure, but that’s a story for another day, another game.

Overview

The Billikens come into the Decibel Dungeon with an 8-11 record, a 3-4 mark in conference play. SLU has two convincing victories over George Washington and Davidson coupled with detestable losses to Tennessee-Martin, George Mason and Morehead State. Saint Louis, to their credit, challenged themselves during their non-conference slate, taking on Louisville, Wichita State and Kansas State before entering A10 play. Of course, the Bills were slaughtered by those programs but it’s the spirit in which they endeavor that you must appreciate.  

I’m not going to lie to you folks; Saint Louis doesn’t do a whole lot of things right on the basketball court. The Billies™ (yup) are one of the least offensively efficient clubs in the country, they shoot just 32% from three and don’t even pretend to crash the offensive boards. SLU gets 25% of their points from the foul-line – that’s incredibly lazy. Jim Crews has to impart how important it is to bring the Arch-Baron Cup back to St. Louis; otherwise it could be a long night for the visitors. 

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Although Saint Louis doesn’t have the type of athleticism to play the type of defense that used to be their staple, they still have the ability to make their opponents work for shots. However, once opposing teams figure out SLU defensively (usually after the first or second TV timeout), they seem to have a field day. The Billikens give up a lot of good looks from the perimeter, a factor UD will hopefully take advantage of early to put pressure on SLU’s offense. Opponents are taking 40% of their shots from behind the arc against Saint Louis, an indication that Crews’ team is reluctant to man up defensively, content to pack it in and pray for an off shooting night from their challengers.  

On a positive note, the Billikens were picked to finished twelfth in the Atlantic Ten preseason poll and seem like they will better that prediction rather easily. After winning an average of twenty-seven games the previous three seasons, SLU experience a great deal of regression and finished with eleven wins last year. Saint Louis went from first to worst and is simply trying to get the program back on track this season. Although the year likely won’t end with a postseason trip, Crews has at the very least steadied the ship.

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I have never seen a roster/depth chart that is as clusterfucked as Saint Louis. Trying to pick the top eight contributors to this team was a fruitless pursuit, but, as always, I gave it a half-assed effort. Point-guard Aaron Hines is an interesting player that has recently become one of Crews’ go to guys. After being plastered to the bench all season he has played starter minutes over the past four games. He isn’t much of an outside threat but he gets to the line, where he is shooting almost 90% this season. Hines inclusion in the Bills’ starting lineup is either a sign of inspiration or desperation by Crews, time will tell.  

SLU has gone to a smaller lineup with Milik Yarbrough’s absence – the sophomore starter suffered a concussion earlier in the season and hasn’t played since – implementing what amounts to a four-guard attack offensively. Ash Yacoubou, a 6’4” guard, is the Billikens’ four at this point, which should have Dyshawn Pierre and Kendall Pollard excited to lace ‘em up on Wednesday night. Yacoubou is a solid defender but struggles to put the ball in the net. Regardless, he gets plenty of shots up for SLU and is their most important player going forward. 

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Joining Yacoubou and Hines as part of the guard quarter are Mike Crawford and Jermaine Bishop. Crawford is the squad’s best outside shooter and literally looks like a Billiken. Expect to see him coming off screens looking for threes all goddamn night. Bishop, like Hines, is a recent addition to the starting lineup. He’s a freshman basically thrown into the fire by Crews, gaining experience while ostensibly gaining confidence. Bishop is a solid shooter and very comfortable with the ball in his hand. 

After that, things get murky. Crews has started four different players at the five spot so far this season. Reggie Agbeko got the nod last time out against UMass, so the house money is on him to start against UD. Saint Louis has three legitimate big men in Austin Gillmann, Matt Neufeld and Brett Jolly. All could play, none could play. I hate this team. They would be a nightmare team to scout if they had even average talent.  

Nate’s Numbers

ap,375x360,12x16,1,ffffff,t_u6If you look at St. Louis from an efficiency stand point they’re pretty terrible. The Billikens are flat out average on defense and straight awful offensively. They’re downright incompetent when it comes to scoring anywhere but the free-throw line. They shoot less than 50% on two-point baskets and are in the bottom third of the country in three-point percentage. They do get to the line at a pretty good clip, shooting 44 free-throws for every 100 field-goals they attempt. The charity stripe is sadly their most consistent way of scoring. 

About the only thing SLU does well on defense is prevent offensive boards. All of their defensive shooting percentages are pretty poor. One interesting note is the amount of three’s teams are currently attempting against the Billikens. They currently rank 307th in three-point attempts allowed. This is a stark contrast to the program’s style once Majerus got his system implemented. SLU was top 20 in three-point attempts allowed from 2009-2014 — this current ediiton of the Billikens gives their opposition the green light from behind the arc.

The Flyers defense should easily keep Saint Louis from scoring and the Flyers likely will have their way on offense. I don’t see a single aspect of this team to draw a concern on.

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Prediction

UD has won three games in a row against their fiercest rival and I’d expect the Flyers will rack up their fourth consecutive victory against SLU tomorrow night. The Billikens simply don’t have the talent to hang with Dayton for forty minutes. Archie will drink Miller Lite (my man doesn’t mess around with craft beer) out of the Arch-Baron Cup on his drive home from UD Arena, victorious and satisfied with vanquishing the Gem City’s bitter enemies.

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Tom Blackburn is a proud U. o’ D. alum. He loses faith in humanity one day at a time, but not in you, you seem like you are all kinds of alright. Charter member of the T-Man fanclub.

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