November was a long, strange trip for the St. John’s Red Storm - a descent into doubt for some, with effort and execution in question. Around these parts, we are sure there are better days ahead - but what is the ceiling?
Tonight is not just a chance to put the past in the rear view. A road game against Tulane is a chance to get away from home, work on the team’s approach in an environment that might be intense, given the size of the court and the urgency for a win.
Tulane,m however, has played five straight games away from home - all losses - and will be looking to get back in the win column. The program and fans will be clad in black tonight [video].
The rearview look at what went wrong for St. John’s in November
Podcast about the Tulane game (which includes recommendations on where to go out near Tulane!)
Who: St. John’s Red Storm (2-5) at Tulane Green Wave (1-6)
Where: Fogelman Arena in the Devlin Fieldhouse (capacity: 3,600)
When: Friday, 12/2, 8 pm eastern (7 pm CT)
TV: ESPNews | ESPN3
Audio: 970 WNYM or on TuneIn, with John Minko and Brian Mahoney.
Twitter: Follow @rumbleSBN and @StJohnsBBall for updates. On the opposing side, follow @GreenWaveMBB and our friends at @FearTheWaveBlog for Tulane updates. Their hashtag is #RollWave.
Fun Fact: Tulane’s surprise victory over St. John’s in the NCAA Tournament was Lou Carnesecca’s final game as coach of the St. John’s program. Tulane was a 10-seed; St. John’s was seeded 7.
Tulane brought in former NBA coach Mike Dunleavy Sr. to coach the Green Wave after six years of Ed Conroy; Dunleavy comes to the Crescent City with no NCAA coaching experience, but has led many NBA teams in his tenure on the highest level of the sport.
But this year, despite planning to institute the Triangle Offense and returning seven contributors from last season, the Green Wave were not predicted to have a strong season, based on the talent on the roster.
Still, St. John’s fans know that such prognostication didn’t stop Delaware State from carving up the Red Storm last week.
Overall, Tulane is a good three-point shooting team (hitting 38% of their shots from distance) that struggles inside the arc (40% shooting) - much like St. John’s. On defense, the GreenWave try to force steals and have struggled in defending in the paint; they also allow a high rate of assisted shots, much like St. John’s.
St. John’s will need to keep close watch on forward Cameron Reynolds, a 6’7” wing from Texas who has found his outside shooting stroke after shooting poorly in his previous two full seasons (and abbreviated season, which he got a redshirt for). He has struggled shooting inside the arc. He plays most of the team’s minutes and is a capable defensive rebounder.
Guards Malik Morgan and Kain Harris (who comes off the bench) provide more scoring punch. Morgan adds the ability to force steals. Kain Harris has been the Green Wave’s most efficient shooter inside and outside the arc.
Big man Ryan Smith is a 6’11” senior who has some success on the offensive glass and blocks shots.
Keys to contest
Play together. After a long month, St. John’s needs to concentrate on executing - playing with speed and urgency but also patience, playing harder, playing smarter and moving the ball.
Value the basketball. St. John’s defense has not been terrible. But the team has given up easy runouts off of turnovers and from long, hastily-taken shots from the perimeter. St. John’s has to do a better job of treating every possession as a valuable, make-or-break moment, not a chance to take the first available shot.
Score inside the arc. Recent games have seen St. John’s take jump shots to try and catch up, but the team needs more offensive balance, more free throws and more attacking plays.
St. John’s are 4-point favorites on the road.
Final Prediction: it’s about time St. John’s plays up to their ability. Red Storm win a tight one, 76-71.