The St. John's Red Storm (11-17, 5-11 Big East) travels to South Bend, IN, to take on the Notre Dame Fighting Irish (22-6, 12-4 Big East), who have a very long home win streak.
If I was in town, I would do what Notre Dame fans do every weekend from Chicago and go to the land of the Golden Dome. But then, I'd just be torturing myself... because this has blowout potential.
Notre Dame vs St. John's, a Comparison of Catholic Basketball.
ND: Awesome offensive team, featuring possible Big East player of the year Luke Harangody, more inside presence in Kurz, Hillesland, and even Luke Zeller, and outside shooting in McAlarney and Tory Jackson on a good day. Good offensive flow, the ball goes through their best player on most possessions.
St. John's: Terrible offensive team, featuring scorers who don’t get off the bench, and multiple players on the floor at any time who couldn’t consistently get the ball in the hoop against an intramural team (see: point guard Malik Boothe to the right, who is developing his jump shot). Have trouble getting ball to the prized freshman.
ND: 34 Game home winning streak.
StJ: 6 road wins in the past 4 years.
ND: A mediocre basketball history punctuated by a decent ten years.
St. John's: An good basketball history, with a lot of wins, highs, and NIT Championships, punctuated by a mostly mediocre last 15 years.
StJ: Longshot to make conference tournament.
The one (negative) thing I can say about Notre Dame is that their defense isn’t particularly good, visually. There are gaps that good players can get through. The guards don’t force turnovers, though opposing teams shoot a low effective field goal percentage. These gaps are why the Fighting Irish won’t get far in the NCAA Tournament, and why they’ve been unable to knock off the top teams.
If St. John’s could get to the line, not turn the ball over (i.e., no stupid passes AND only get the ball to Burrell where he can do something with it, and get open for a kickout pass if he’s double teamed), and actually get a hat on Harangody and Kurz on both ends (Harangody, in particular, is a phenomenal rebounder), the Johnnies might have a chance.
But really? This is just more practice for next year. Anthony Mason Jr. should have a good game, and if this team fights like they did in recent blowouts, they’ll only lose by 10-15, instead of 20.