Basketball

College basketball rankings: Undefeated Saint Louis picks up another solid win by beating NC State

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Each week we do something called the Dribble Handoff in which a question is posed and then answered by me, Matt Norlander, Kyle Boone and David Cobb. The most recent edition focused on the biggest surprises of the season to date.

Anyway …

Back in July, we were asked which team from outside of one of the top seven conferences — besides Gonzaga — could be the next to make a Final Four. My answer was Saint Louis. Here’s what I wrote: 

“The Billikens are returning the top eight scorers from a team that closed on a five-game winning streak – most notably Jordan Goodwin, Javonte Perkins, Hasahn French and Gibson Jimerson, all of whom averaged double-figures in points. And, keep in mind, Jimerson only played 10 games last season because of a broken foot suffered in December. In other words, that five-game winning streak happened despite his absence that forced SLU to play shorthanded, which, on some level, makes it even more impressive. The 6-5 guard is currently healthy and expected to make a big impact. And with Dayton‘s Obi Toppin off to the NBA, Travis Ford’s Billikens are now the obvious favorite in the Atlantic 10 and, yes, talented and experienced enough to maybe, just maybe, march all the way to the Final Four.”

So far, so good.

The Billikens are now 6-0 after Thursday’s 80-69 victory over NC State that was highlighted by a 32-14 run over the final 11-plus minutes. Saint Louis also owns a win over LSU. So Travis Ford’s team is undefeated with two victories over top-45 KenPom schools — specifically victories over the schools picked third in the preseason SEC poll (LSU) and eighth in the preseason ACC poll (NC State). By any measuring stick, that’s a nice start to this season and reason enough to consider the Billikens the favorite in the Atlantic 10, which currently has eight schools in the top 85 at KenPom.

Saint Louis is No. 25 in Friday morning’s updated CBS Sports Top 25 And 1 daily college basketball rankings. The Billikens’ next scheduled game is Sunday at Minnesota. They’ll open the A-10 portion of their schedule on Dec. 30 against Duquesne.

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Friday’s Top 25 And 1 rankings

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