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Game #8, St. John's vs. Hawai'i (Rainbow) Warriors (neutral)

Next up at 4pm Eastern in the Rainbow Classic tournament, the Johnnies face the free-shooting host team, Hawai’i Warriors. The hosts lost to 3-6 Louisiana Lafayette, formerly thought of as the weakest team in the 8–team field. In other news, East Tennessee State beat the Georgia Bulldogs. What an unimpressive tournament this is turning out to be for many teams… at least St. John’s was a 4-point underdog. To Ohio University. Not Ohio State… Ohio.

But, it’s on to match up with Hawai’i. They’re a tall team featuring native Hawai’ian and head coach’s son Bobby Nash, senior shooter Riley Luettgerodt, and efficient scorer Jared Dillinger. They have some height in Stephen Verwers and Bill Amis, who block a few shots when they’re on the court. Dillinger prefers to shoot from the outside, and Nash takes more of the shots, and is more effective from beyond the arc vs. inside.

Quick keys to the game:

Keep Your Heads Up. It’s only one loss, Red Storm. They have to rebound from the game and play as hard as they did in the second half against Ohio. Anthony Mason Jr. and Rob Thomas will hopefully get more minutes; though to maximize this team’s effectiveness, Coach Roberts will have to play less of the TJ/ Coker pairing and have more Burrell and Thomas in the middle, even if they are out of position. The out of position argument would hold more water if Burrell’s struggles to get off quality (or any) shots were tied to his playing center; this team needs more threats an fewer foulers on the court.

Attack and Smother. The Hawai’i team is as senior-laden as the Ohio team, but they don’t play as physical as Ohio did. I think St. John’s should be effective against okay-to-mediocre offensive teams like the Warriors with their pressure defense. The guards do get out and pick up the defense far from the basket, trying to keep the offense from getting into their sets. More of that. Slow down the Warrior offense.

Good Hands (and Feet) Group. Get those rebounds, big men. And don’t make silly fouls, lazy fouls, or stupid fouls. When St. John’s isn’t making ridiculous fouls, they are a fine defensive basketball club.