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Saint Louis Billikens vs. Southern Illinois Salukis - 11/15/14 College Basketball Pick, Odds, and Prediction

Southern Illinois Salukis (14-19) at Saint Louis Billikens (27-7)

College Basketball: Saturday, November 15, 2014 at 8:00 pm (Chaifetz Arena)

The Line: Saint Louis Billikens -10.5 -- Over/Under: See the Latest Odds

TV: Fox Sports Midwest Plus

The Southern Illinois Salukis will travel to take on the St. Louis Billikens this Saturday evening at Chaifetz Arena.

The Southern Illinois Salukis under 3rd year head coach Barry Hinson look to continue the success that they had towards the end of the last season. For those who don’t remember, Coach Hinson had one of the more memorable post-game interview rants last year after his Salukis lost to Murray State. The good news was the Salukis responded well to the criticism and although they only finished 14-19, they ended strong going 8-4 and their last 12 games against fellow Missouri Valley Conference teams. Although Coach Hinson will have a young team with 6 freshman on the roster and will have to find a way to replace Desmar Jackson (18.6 ppg, 5.5 rpg, 2.1 apg, 2.4 spg), he does have four returning starters led by juniors Anthony Bean (14.7 ppg, 3.2 rpg) and Jalen Pendleton (9.1 ppg, 3.5 rpg). Southern Illinois has a solid defense that make you work for your points, however, for the Salukis to continue to climb to top of the MVC this year, coach Hinson will need to find some more support for the offensive as they averaged only 66.9 points last year which ranked 276th in the country.

Saint Louis Billikens vs. Southern Illinois Salukis - 11/15/14 College Basketball Pick, Odds, and Prediction

USA TODAY Sports

The Saint Louis Billikens were one of the most surprising teams in the country last year, even cracking the top-10 rankings towards the end of the season. The Billikens, led by defensive minded head coach Jim Crews, will find it difficult to match the success of last season as the Billikens lost the core of its team that helped take them to the NCAA tournament that past three years. Some of the notable players gone include Dwayne Evens (14.0 ppg, 6.5 rpg), Jordair Jett (13.9 ppg, 4.0rpg, 4.8 apg), Rob Loe (10.3 ppg, 5.7 rpg), and Mike McCall (9.8 ppg, 3.8 rpg). Saint Louis does have point-guard Austin McBroom (7.3 ppg, 1.6 apg) returning which will give Coach Crews a floor general, but outside of McBroom, the Billikens will mostly be a team of unexperienced upperclassman and young freshmen. Coach Crews has always been a defensive wizard (St. Louis give up only 61.9 ppg last year) and although he will have his team ready to defend the ball, it’s hard to see where he will get his offensive production from.

The Salukis are 6-1 ATS in their last 7 road games and 8-2 ATS in their last 10 games overall. The Billikens are 3-1-1 ATS in their last 5 non-conference games however, just 1-9-1 ATA in their last 11 games overall.

Although Chaifetz Arena is a tough place to place and St. Louis always seems to bring a solid defense, I feel that they are two teams headed in different directions. I really liked how the this Salukis club responded to adversity last year and ended the season strong and I just don’t see how Saint Louis will be able to score enough points to cover this spread. I’ll take the Salukis and won’t be shocked to see them even pull the upset. 

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Southern Illinois Salukis +10.5

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