The Sky Might Be Falling, But the Sun Always Rises

It's easy at times like these to become frustrated and go looking for ways to distract yourself from a loss like Duquesne.

Frankly, anything to distract yourself from the pain that has been the last few games of Billikens' basketball.

And really it wouldn't be all that hard to find some source of solace in this season.

Young guys like Yuri Collins and Gibson Jimerson found themselves not just competing, but thriving at the college level, which is only going to get better in their time at SLU.

We saw Javonte Perkins find himself down the early stretch of the conference season as we watched the rest of the team slowly crumble around him.

While it won't do much for us next year, we got a chance to watch Tay Weaver put it together and start to get hot.

And hey, above all, maybe we will get another year of Fred Thatch and Gibson Jimerson through the red shirt process.

Anything is possible.

You could think like that.

You could also become angry and frustrated with how talented this team is, and how much they have underperformed especially in conference play.

And regardless of injuries, there have been some disappointing moments of silly decision making and head scratching choices from the bench leading to a rather underwhelming second half of the season.

All of this can be true, and is true, but does not mean this season is over.

Yes, maybe I am quite jaded or maybe I'm just a numb to the panic on social media or elsewhere.

Whatever the case may be, I find it hard to give up on this team given what we saw happen just one year ago.

And look, the Travis Ford team that won four games in four days in the A10 tournament is not the same team that will look to repeat that performance for a shot at the tournament this year.

One of the biggest things we lost was Javon Bess, an all-world defender who did as much on the offensive end as he did on the defensive end to keep the Billikens in games.

Right now we don't seem to have THAT guy.

Sure Javonte Perkins has been explosive offensively, but I'm certainly not ready to compare his defensive abilities to Javon Bess, nor do I know if I even want Javonte guarding other teams best players.

And while Tay Weaver has been getting things going on the offensive end of the floor, there haven't been many signs that he is primed for the same kind of second half that Tremaine Isabell had.

But let's ignore all that for a second.

Let's remind ourselves that at this time last year the Billikens were fresh off of a four game losing streak that they snapped with a win over Dayton before promptly losing the next game to St. Joe's.

That four game skid seemed to put the premature cap on a season that had already felt very disappointing when considering the loss of Gordon and the inability to capitalize on ranked games for marquee wins.

The Billikens' flat out did not build a resume, and stringing together loses is usually a great way to not make the tournament.

Not to mention we ended the season on a loss to St. Bonaventure, a loss we would eventually avenge in the championship game of the A10 tournament which we all remember gave us our bid to the big dance.

I don't need to remind you of this, but it never hurts to hear it.

Yes this is a team that has underperformed, a team with a pretty well loaded roster when healthy, a team that could very easily be top-25 ranked or higher.

But it's also a team that you can never count out, especially when it comes to a four day tournament in Brooklyn.

One intangible I sometimes fail to remember when considering our trip to Brooklyn this year is the fact that there is no team better suited for that tournament than us.

I mean sure, I'm really pulling out all the stops to find the sunlight but it's there.

The "Bully Ball Billikens" can bash their way through just about anyone in that four day span of time and here's why.

First of all, as it stands now we most definitely will not be a double bye team, but I sure as hell expect us to finish in the top ten so we get a single bye.

This means, should all things remain relatively the same, we can get ourselves going quickly with a win over a more manageable opponent, like a La Salle or St. Joe's.

Oh wait....

I mean we did win, and it's A10 conference games, on the road, so I'll over look that in favor of my positive mindset.

How many teams want to go up against an opponent as physical as SLU, especially if they have already played a game the day before anyway.

The Billikens could potentially take the first round game, turn it into momentum like they did last year and then start literally bullying teams.

I also am my least fearful of Dayton in the A10 tournament when they will likely be eyeing the NCAA tournament.

If we can get someone else to handle VCU, I like our chances against anyone else, even Duquesne.

At the very least, there are options, there are opportunities, and there are means by which to extend our season.

We also are not dependent on elements of the game like shooting.

For us, it is this simplistic approach which at times has failed us through it's ease to gameplan against that may help us win come conference tournament time.

I won't stake much of my reputation on this, but I can promise you the Billikens have been playing on average at their very worst lately.

If we are shooting free throws well, even for one game, we are a totally different team.

If Tay Weaver, Javonte Perkins, Demarius Jacobs, etc. get hot during a game and we see another Tulane type performance, we are a totally different team.

If Goodwin and French start to get things going like they did early on, we are a totally different team.

The last few games, we have found some free throw shooting, or at least above our average, while also watching our core two guys go awful quiet production wise.

Couple that with team wide defensive break downs and coaching head scratchers, and it's easy to see that this is an "uncut gem".

I told you, anything to make me feel better right now.

But seriously, this team is a few lucky breaks from being as dangerous as anyone come March.

Am I trying to do my best Bluto impression and tell you this team walks into UD Arena and beats Dayton?

Nope, but I wouldn't be surprised.

This has obviously become personal for Goodwin and French, though what exactly that means is unclear.

It feels like maybe this should have become personal a little bit sooner, but maybe that's just when they finally vocalized it.

All I'm trying to say, to myself as much as anyone really, is that you have cheer up.

It's Arch Baron Cup week, Part Two. It's a national broadcast, it's a top ten team, and it's a shot to make a splash no matter what your record is.

At least enjoy the moment, however fleeting that is.

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