After a disastrous weekend, the Red Storm travel north to the Hall of Fame Shootout in Uncasville, Connecticut. St. John's is coming off losses to Incarnate Word and NJIT. Chris Mullin's side will take on the 25th/23rd ranked South Carolina Gamecocks, za team that is building up to be a challenger to Kentucky in the SEC.
How to Watch St. John's vs South Carolina
The game is scheduled for 9pm and the game will be televised on CBS Sports Network with Dave Ryan and Doug Gottlieb on the call. John Minko and Brandon Tierney will broadcast the game on 570 AM WMCA on your radio dial.
Scouting St. John's
No rest for the weary. Tuesday's matchup will be the Johnnies third game in five days. The first two of those games were resume-crushing losses for the team - after hopes were raised with a defeat of Syracuse. St. John's was blown out by Incarnate Word on Friday night 73-51 and lost by nine points to NJIT Sunday afternoon 83-74.
Federico Mussini once again led the team in scoring on Sunday with 20 points. He has now raised his scoring average to 14.2 points per game to go along with 3.0 rebounds and 2.7 assists. As of last week, the Italian was in the top fifteen in scoring in the Big East.
After Mussini, Ron Mvouika added 12 points, 4 assists and 3 rebounds to be St. John's second leading scorer on Sunday. The Parisian is averaging 9.2 points, 4.2 rebounds and 1.7 assists per game. One thing to note is Mvouika was second again in minutes to only Federico Mussini. Aside from foul trouble, one thing to look for in this game and early in the Big East season is how Chris Mullin handles the rotation.
Christian Jones notched his second double-double of the year on Sunday. The junior from Arlington, Texas scored 10 points and grabbed 11 rebounds. In the two games prior to Sunday, Jones did not make much of an impact. He scored two and three points respectively. Also, he played a season-low seventeen minutes in St. John's biggest win of the year against Syracuse.
Defensively, the team has struggled to cover outside shooters in their losses, getting lost in screens and trying to make big plays to turn the tide of the game. A strong, solid, effort with a lot of hustle - and muscle - will be needed against the Gamecocks.
Scouting South Carolina
The Gamecocks enter Tuesday's contest undefeated at 10-0. They are ranked 25th in the AP poll and 23rd in the USA Today Coaches poll. South Carolina is coming off a win against its biggest rival, Clemson.
Veteran coach Frank Martin coaches the Gamecocks. He is in his fourth year at South Carolina. Prior to South Carolina, Martin coached Kansas State after taking over for his mentor, Bob Huggins. He made the NCAA tournament in every season except one at Kansas State including a trip to the Elite Eight.
Mindaugas Kacinas leads South Carolina in both scoring and rebounding. He averages 13 points and 6.1 rebounds per game. Against Clemson, the senior from Lithuania scored 10 points with 4 rebounds and 2 assists. Before the Clemson game though, he had been struggling having scored 5 points and 8 points in the two games previous.
The Palmetto state school also boasts two players who average 12 points per game and two that average 11 points per game. Michael Carrera and Laimonas Chatkevicius average 12.4 points and 5.4 rebounds and 12.1 points and 4.1 rebounds per game respectively. The 6-5 senior Carrera from Barcelona comes into the St. John's game hot. He has scored in double digits in each of his last seven games. Duane Notice and Sindarius Thornwell average 11.4 points and 11.3 points per game.
One name to note is PJ Dozier. He is a 6-6 point guard and was top 20 recruit in the class of 2015 according to ESPN. He signed with South Carolina over the likes of Michigan, North Carolina, Georgetown and Louisville. He is averaging 8.6 points, 4.1 rebounds and 2.2 assists per game in 20 minutes per game.
South Carolina prefers to drive inside, draw contact and look for foul shot opportunities. Dozier, Notice and Carrera are all solid three-point shooters, but the real danger is keeping the very physical Gamecocks off the glass and from slashing to the basket.
Keys to the Game
Defending: The NJIT Highlanders went 11-20 from beyond the arc against the Johnnies Sunday. They shot better from downtown than inside. South Carolina wants to score inside; will St. John's talented but inexperienced interior core make scoring difficult for Frank Martin's team?
Free Throws: St. John's struggled from the line on Sunday. Chris Mullin's team went 18-34 from the charity stripe. The Red Storm cannot leave 16 points off the board. They will not beat many good teams shooting 52% from the free throw line.
Hit threes: The Gamecocks allow a fair amount of scoring from outside the arc. St. John's best offense is a hot Federico Mussini from three, or Durand Johnson making his distance shots, helped out by Ellison and Mvouika. The Johnnies should certainly look to get inside, but to keep pace with South Carolina, a strong outside effort is called for.
The Gamecocks are rolling right now, and St. John's is reeling. Expect a valiant effort but a South Carolina 76 - St. John's 63 final.