Anthony Gruppuso-US PRESSWIRE
What you may have missed in a very busy week of St. John's sports.
The St. John's men's basketball squad is in San Francisco, where they have enjoyed Alcatraz, volunteered at a Food Bank, and enjoyed the sights before getting back to the business of game planning for the surprising 4-1 San Francisco Dons. The Johnnies will be tested on the road - but we'll talk about that more tomorrow morning.
The Johnnies' men's team played two games at home and won both in Carnesecca. One was a lot easier than the other - but it was NJIT who provided the challenge. St. John's got by NJIT, 57-49, falling behind by as much as 14 along the way. The Red Storm held NJIT to 14 points in the second half and brought their offense up to an acceptable level after their worst offensive performance all year.
D`Angelo Harrison continued to provide steady performance, even as Coach Lavin works to temper his on-court emotions to make him a better team leader. The only thing hold D`Angelo back may be... himself. As mentioned in the preview, rebounding was still an issue, but the Johnnies held down the Highlanders' star Chris Flores (10 points).
The game against South Carolina was a thorough tenderizing of Frank Martin's club, 89-65. The Gamecocks intend to play a tough man-to-man defense, but don't yet have the athletes for it - and man-to-man defense plays into the hands of the Red Storm, with players who can get their shots off of the dribble.
Brenton Williams - the South Carolina guard who fell hard to the floor and was wheeled off, immobilized, to a local hospital - traveled with the team and played extensive minutes on Sunday on the Gamecocks' loss to Clemson.
JaKarr Sampson was named Big East Rookie of the Week. And the Rumble analyzed the Red Storm's shooting tendencies - and the team's proclivity for shooting in the mid-range. Time will tell if that shooting choice is merely stylish, or stylish and uncomfortably problematic.
Conference realignment was big news this week, with the Big East welcoming two new teams to the conference for 2014: Tulane (all sports) and East Carolina (football only). Soon afterwards, Louisville announced a move for the Atlantic Coast Conference for 2014 (likely).
Fans are rightfully upset about this, and the Rumble has two sides of the debate. Reader Redmen9194 penned a smart piece on how the Big East schools are joining Conference USA, since the upcoming league will be Conference USA sans Louisville of seven years ago.
The Rumble weighed in with the idea that without action, St. John's may become a mid-major program unless the school pairs with like-minded institutions to create a buzzworthy conference. We also took a look at when is the right time to pull the proverbial plug on the Big East bath, taking into account the likely revenue streams at risk.
On the women's side, guard Eugenia McPherson tore her ACL and will be out for the season. The women's sqaud was upset by Boston University, fielding a team with both starting guards sidelined - Nadirah McKenith was out with back spasms.