Open thread: St. John's looks for revenge vs USF

John Alber
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Wednesday, December 18, 2013
When: 8:00 PM Eastern
San Francisco (6-4) vs St. John's (6-3)
Pomeroy Rank: St. John's: 58 | USF: 169
Carnesecca (Capacity: 5,602)
Where: Queens, NY
TV: Fox Sports 1 | Fox Sports Go online
Radio: Bloomberg 1130
Line: -12.5, St. John's

In the preview, we remarked that St. John's has not yet arrived; they still struggle with slow starts. The NY Post's Howie Kussoy agrees:

...it’s still unclear whether his talented, but unproven squad can bring the same focus and intensity into every game. Outside of its 46-point blowout of Fordham, St. John’s has struggled for long stretches during each of its other games this season, often falling victim to slow starts.

Now, with three straight games against mid-major teams before Big East play begins, the Red Storm (6-3) can’t afford to let the season-long trend continue. Against San Francisco (6-4) on Wednesday night at Carnesecca Arena — where St. John’s is 4-0 this season — that shouldn’t be a problem.

"Shouldn't be" is not a guarantee. St. John's has to watch for the hot-shooting Dons and take advantage of their lax defense.

If you're wondering about how the Dons have played without Cody Doolin - the guard who went for 18 points and 14 assists vs. St. John's last year - a quick table, since they have scored and been scored on at about the same levels. The only discernible differences have been an uptick in free throws, an increase in steal rate (longer defenders like Chris Adams and Tao Xu have seen more time) and an increase in turnover rate.

Free Throw Rate
Steal Rate
Turnover Rate
With Doolin (3 Division 1 games)
37.2
8.8
17.8
Without Doolin (5 Division 1 games)
52.6
10.6
20.5

Turnovers seem like a good treat for the holiday. If the Dons are giving gifts, let's hope the Red Storm accepts those gifts. It's the only polite thing to do.

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