St. Louis Loses Top Two Players

A seismic shift has occurred in the Atlantic 10 that is sure to affect all teams and especially second tier teams like Duquesne. The Saint Louis Billikens will be without the services of their best two players until at least January. According to a report from the St. Louis Post-Dispatch point guard Kwamain Mitchell and center Willie Reed are no longer enrolled at the University. The paper reports that this is because of sexual assault allegations. Reed has asked for a release from his scholarship and will not return to school but Mitchell’s lawyer expects the point guard to return in time for the conference schedule. Of course, it is yet to be seen if coach Rick Majerus may take other action.

The basketball ramifications of this are huge (for a mid major conference). If both are lost for the season, young players will be thrown into the rotation quicker than otherwise thought. Majerus, whom I consider to be perhaps one of the ten best college basketball coaches of all time, is an excellent tactician but nonetheless, this news is a great blow to the progress made in the lengendary coach’s tenure in the gateway city. This will likely result in several fewer wins for the Billikens and over the course of the conference season more wins for other A-10 programs.

The effects are rather immediate for the Dukes who immediately jump ahead in the projected standings. The Billikens would have expected with their all league players to be dark horse contenders for the title and now have fell to the bottom of the second tier or perhaps even into the third level of teams. Duquesne, with all of its primary contributors returning is a direct rival with SLU. Of particular note is that the Dukes are scheduled to play St Louis twice. Considering the status of the SLU program, the Dukes should now win those two games, whereas with Reed and Mitchell the Dukes would gladly take a split. One or two more wins in conference can make a huge difference, and that provides a cogent example of how important this news can be to the league.

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