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NC State welcomes the Saint Louis Billikens

Billikens, Billikens, Billikens – the most fun team name in college basketball

NC State v Saint Louis
Saint Louis University mascot. Behold the Billiken!
Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

When: Wednesday December 20 – 7:00 PM ET

Where: PNC Arena

Opponent: Saint Louis University Billikens (Atlantic 10 Conference)

TV: ACC Network Extra

Preseason Conference Prediction: 6th (of 15) in the A10

Pomeroy Prediction: Wolfpack 83 - 71

Wolfpack Snapshot: KP #74, NET #69, 7th in ACC based on NET rankings

Wolfpack Season So Far:

The Pack * should * finish the OOC season this week without the hoped for resume building, non-conference win, but also, with no bad losses.

  • Losses: All Q1 - Ole Miss (NET #66), Tennessee (NET #8), and BYU (NET #4)
  • Best Win: Q2 - Boston College (NET #80)

Wolfpack Injury Report:

Early season starter Mi Diarra has not yet regained his early season form, he had an ankle problem earlier, but no recent specifics on the problem have been released. This has unexpectedly become a very serious loss. His rebounding is needed badly.

Opponent Overview:

Coach Travis Ford’s team finished last season 21-12, including an upset over Memphis, and made it to the conference semi-finals. This will be a rebuilding year, they lost 3 starters including Yuri Collins, the only player in the NCAA last season to average a double/double in points and assists. He is now with the NBA’s GS Warriors.

What is a Billiken?

The Billiken is a mythical good-luck figure who represents “things as they ought to be.” Before he was Saint Louis University’s mascot, he was a national sensation, a figure who was turned into dolls, marshmallow candies, metal banks, hatpins, pickle forks, belt buckles, auto hood ornaments, salt and pepper shakers, bottles and more. (courtesy www.slubillikens.com)

(Note to self: Add Billiken pickle fork to Christmas list)

Their Season So Far:

The Billikens are (7-5) (KP #204, NET #213) with wins over Illinois St (KP #204), Wyoming (KP #181), Hofstra (KP #103), Dartmouth (KP #293) and Saturday had their best win of the season so far against Louisiana Tech (KP #88). The Billikens’ strength of schedule is comparable to ours.

Team Statistical Comparison

Team PPG FG% 3PT% 3PT pg Reb pg Ast pg TO pg ST pg BL pg
Team PPG FG% 3PT% 3PT pg Reb pg Ast pg TO pg ST pg BL pg
NCS 79.3 45.4% 34.80% 7.9 37.3 14.2 9.8 8 3.1
SLU 74.3 44.4% 39% 8 33.1 12.1 11.2 6.9 2.3

Player Notes:

  • Their top returning player, guard Gibson Jimerson, started every game last season and is preseason first team A10 all-conference. This is his fifth season at SLU, he is a career 13.5 Ppg scorer. He leads the team in scoring, 3PTM, FTM, and minutes played.
  • Terrence Hargrove, Jr is their other returning starter. He started 16 games last season. He is the team leading rebounder. Hargrove single handedly won the Louisiana Tech game Saturday scoring 11 of his 13 total points in the last 28 seconds, including the game winning 3PT shot with no time left on the clock.
  • Starting forward, Tim Dalger, transferred in from Tulsa
  • Freshmen, center Bruce Zhang and guard Cian Medley, have moved into the starting lineup for the most recent three games. Zhang is a 7-footer from China, he spent one season at Atlanta’s The Skill Factory training center before coming to SLU. Medley got 8 rebounds and had 5 assists in their game against Hofstra. He leads the team in steals and is second in assists.

Key Player Injuries

  • Starting guard Michael Meadows (leads team in assists) was injured against Southern Illinois 12/2 and has not played since.
  • Starting guard, leading scorer, and second leading rebounder Sincere Parker was injured in the Wyoming game 11/16 and has not played since. He is averaging 17.3 Ppg, however that’s only having played 4 early season games.

Key Returning Players

  • Starting guard Larry Hughes’ first game back from an injury suffered 12/2 was Saturday against Louisiana Tech.
  • Junior forward (6’9” 265) Bradley Ezewrio is a transfer from Georgetown (and LSU). He was one of the players waiting on a waver who were exempted from the redshirt requirement last week. His first game was Saturday against Louisiana Tech. He scored 17 points and had 5 rebounds.

SLU Probable Starters

Player Class Pos Height Weight PPG 3PT% 3PTApg REB ASST BLK STL
Player Class Pos Height Weight PPG 3PT% 3PTApg REB ASST BLK STL
Jimerson RS JR G 6'5" 215 16.8 40.5% 6.2 3 2.3 0.2 1
Dalger SR F 6'7" 215 10.8 26.9% 2.2 4.8 0.8 0.2 1
Hargrove SR F 6'5" 215 14.1 40.0% 3.3 6.3 1.1 0.7 1
Medley FR G 5'11" 165 4.8 38.1% 1.8 2.2 2.9 0.1 1
Zhang FR C 7'0" 265 3.2 0.0% 0 2.4 0.7 0.7 0

Keys to the Game:

The Pack is favored by double digits. SLU will not be at full strength, but Saturday they added two players who will be major contributors. The major concern is the Pack’s mental state after the Tennessee game, and it being the week prior to Christmas and their opportunity to go home next week. If the Pack plays to their capability, this will not be close. If not, well Billikens!!