* Man, it’s good to see Saint Louis U running around on the hardwood, starting to look like the lively and entertaining team we watched before COVID shut the Billikens down. Wednesday night’s 67-60 win against Rhode Island followed an important victory over St. Bonaventure, and coach Travis Ford has put his team back together again. It’s inspiring.

* Here’s what I liked about SLU’s second consecutive win: 14-0 edge on fastbreak points, a 15-2 demolition in points on turnovers, and a 28-18 advantage in paint points. Oh, and this guy: Jordan Goodwin. How about this line? He scored 17 points, has 11 rebounds, six assists, and six steals. According to KenPom, Goodwin was 25 percent above average in offensive rating in this one. SLU is inching its way back up; 41st in NCAA NET ratings, and 46 in KenPom. 

* I’m bored by the constant stream of Blues-Coyotes games. I know that there is a very good reason for this unusual stretch of scheduling — roster disruptions inside the NHL,  caused by the virus — but this is monotonous. Seven straight games between the same teams? Unless it’s the playoffs, I’m not into it. Sorry. 

* Before Wednesday night, Mizzou was 25th in NCAA NET, and SLU was No. 43. But with the Billikens winning and Missouri getting embarrassed during an 80-59 blowout defeat at Ole Miss, the updated NET ratings has SLU (41) only seven spots behind Missouri (34.) I don’t know what happened to Missouri from the time it beat Alabama to the Tigers arrival in Oxford. But Missouri (13-4) had little interest in competing, and that’s a shame. I don’t see any excuse for that — do you? Xavier Pinson had six points and four turnovers in 24 minutes. And in Mizzou’s four losses this season Pinson’s average offensive rating (according to KenPom) is way under average — by 26 percent as a matter of fact. 

* According to the annual PECOTA preseason forecast at Baseball Prospectus, the NL Central is shaping up this way in terms of wins for each team: Brewers 88.8, Cubs 85.1, Cardinals 80.6, Reds 79.1, Pirates 61.1 … and PECOTA gives St. Louis only a 9.3% chance of winning the division. The Cardinals’ projected win total is ninth in the NL … as of now, subject to change, I think the Cardinals will win between 87-90 games. We’ll find out. 

* In the quarter-season update, The Athletic placed the Blues at No. 8 in its NHL-wide power ratings. The Blues were slotted into the “Dark Horse” category along with Montreal, Dallas and Philadelphia. The top six teams in order are Tampa Bay, Colorado, Boston, Vegas, Toronto and Carolina. “It’s hard to get a read on the Blues when they play 20 straight games against the Coyotes,” The Athletic wrote. “The staff and model are both fairly close, viewing St. Louis as a Dark Horse team, but something has been off about the Blues to start that has allowed Carolina and Montreal to surpass them. That probably begins and ends with their special teams play which has been abhorrent at both ends of the ice, ranking 25th on the power play and 29th on the penalty kill. There might be some regression coming with the man advantage, but the shorthanded problems are real as the Blues allow the fifth most chance down a man in the league.”

* More Prospect ratings! Kiley McDaniel is out with his Top 100 list at ESPN, and the Cardinals are represented by outfielder Dylan Carlson (No. 18), third baseman Nolan Gorman (50), catcher Ivan Herrera (77) and pitcher Matthew Liberatore (80.) 

McDaniel on Carlson: “More the subtle type of prospect, without gaudy plus-plus tools or top-10-pick pedigree. He only cracked the top 20 of this list after he’d already played 35 MLB games. Now that your expectations are lowered, he’s really good!”

Thanks for reading! 


Listen to Bernie’s sports-talk show on 590-AM The Fan, KFNS, weekdays from 3-6 p.m. (But 4-6 p.m. on Friday.) If you can’t hear it live, then access the show and show podcast at … the 590 app is available in your preferred app store.