Tuesday, January 28, 2014
When: 9:02 PM Eastern
St. John's Red Storm (12-8, 2-5 Big East) at #20 Creighton Bluejays (17-3, 7-1 Big East)
Pomeroy Rank: St. John's: 63 | Creighton: 2
CenturyLink Center Omaha (Capacity: 17,390)
Where: Omaha, NE
TV: Fox Sports | Fox Sports Go
Announcers: Kevin Kugler + Jim Jackson
Radio: Bloomberg 1130 | KOZN 1620 AM (Creighton feed)
Spread/ Favorite: 12.5, Creighton
Winners of three straight, St. John's looks to be finding a groove. Strong performances from JaKarr Sampson and Rysheed Jordan - two players who should be offensive leaders of the team - have helped power the Johnnies up from the Big East basement.
The penthouse is far from the Red Storm's position of eighth place. And #20 Creighton is currently battling the Villanova Wildcats for the top spot in the polls, powered by one of the best offenses in the country, a lot of experience and an imposing home court.
It's a lot different than beating up on Dartmouth, Seton Hall and Butler. Big game performances will be needed to beat Creighton, a team that will happily run with opponents... but will shoot deep threes instead of looking for rim-rocking dunks. [Because threes are worth one more point. Obviously Creighton basketball loves math.]
The Johnnies are an immensely athletic team, but the jury is still out on whether they’re talented at basketball, which is, you know, the sport they play. Watch them play three or four games, and you’ll come away scratching your head at the mistakes they make on what ought to be simple basketball plays. Often they’re able to overwhelm teams with their sheer quickness and athleticism, but relying on those skills hampers them against teams equipped to neutralize those things — well-coached, veteran teams with high basketball IQ’s. In other words, teams exactly like Creighton.
Well... that's hard to argue. But the Red Storm have a chance to change the narrative tonight.
A win opens up all the possibilities for the season that the hopeful Johnnies imagined over the summer; a win says that the team is peaking around February, just as Steve Lavin thought it would.
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