With a 78-68 victory over DePaul, the Johnnies have officially tripled their Big East win total from last season. Chris Mullin and company will look to keep the good times rolling as they head to New Jersey for a tilt with Seton Hall.
Who: St. John’s Red Storm (9-11, 3-4 Big East) vs Seton Hall Pirates (12-6, 2-4 Big East)
What: Big East Conference game
Where: Prudential Center, Newark, NJ
When: Sunday, January 22nd, 12:00 PM ET
TV: Fox Sports 1 or Fox Sports Go
Audio: St. John’s TV All-Access will provide free audio for the contest. That station can be found by clicking here. Also live game audio can be found on 570 WMCA.
Last Meeting: Last February, Seton Hall barely topped St. John’s, 62-61 at Madison Square Garden.
Scouting Seton Hall
The Pirates started their season strong, but have sputtered as of late. Playing three games in six days, the Pirates dropped all three - all on the road - falling from 2-1 in conference to 2-4.
Those games were at Marquette (a loss in overtime), at Providence (a game that the Pirates needed not to drop) and a blowout at Villanova (understandable).
With nearly a week of rest, expect these Pirates to be rested and ready to reclaim their standings on the edge of the top four of the Big East. But a rested Pirates team still has flaws. They are last in the Big East in percentages of possessions that end in a turnover (23%) and don’t draw foul shots. In their better games, they still tend to get their scoring from long jump shots and slashing plays. Their defense has been solid for much of the season, but their style has led to winning (and recently, losing) a number of close contests.
Despite the loss of star Isaiah Whitehead to the NBA in the offseason, the Pirates have displayed toughness in executing their game plan and toughness on the boards. Notably, the Pirates are grabbing 38% of their own misses in Big East play - by far tops in the league (Marquette is #2 at 32% of their misses) while allowing opponents to grab 25% of theirs - second in the conference to Xavier in league play so far.
Powering this glasswork are the extreme talents of Dominican forward Angel Delgado. He can box out very well and purses the ball coming off the rim with great timing and great tenacity. He’s a hard-to-stop double double machine who is rarely rendered quiet. Tough forwards Ismael Sanogo and Michael Nzei add to the rebounding talent, though both are less eager scorers.
On the wings, Desi Rodriguez is Seton Hall’s second-leading scorer, adding nearly 17 points per game on the season. In conference play, he’s averaging 21 points on 50% shooting inside the arc and 54% shooting outside of the arc. That percentage on three-pointers is much higher than his career average of 37%, but he can shoot it when he chooses.
On the perimeter, the Pirates are led by Brooklyn’s Khadeen Carrington. Carrington is averaging 18 points per game on the season but only 15 in conference play - where his three-point shooting has slipped to 30%.
Madison Jones, a grad transfer at point guard, provides good passing and can force steals, but defers to the other scorers on the floor. He has scored more than ten points three times this season.
Pirates to watch
Khadeen Carrington: Carrington assumed the role of Isaiah Whitehead, and has done a great job as his successor in the Pirates backcourt. He is an incredibly dangerous scorer, shooter, and passer. Slowing down Carrington will be a huge key to beating Seton Hall.
Angel Delgado: This junior forward has been the preeminent big man in the Seton Hall frontcourt. He is averaging over 14 points and 12 rebounds per contest. Those 12 rebounds lead the conference, by a hefty margin. He is one of the most talented big men in the Big East, keeping him in check is a must.
Myles Powell: New Jersey native Myles Powell has silently been one of the most effective freshman in the Big East. Seton Hall coach Kevin Willard has relied on Powell to play significant minutes in the Pirates backcourt. Powell averages just about 10 points per contest, while shooting 37% from the field.
Desi Rodriguez: This junior guard has proved to be a nice compliment to his counterpart Khadeen Carrington. So far this year, Rodriguez has averaged about 17 points, 5 rebounds, and 2 assists per game. Throughout his college career Rodriguez has developed his three-point shot. Closing out on his shot will be vital, as he is converting on 40% of his three-point field goals.
Keys to the contest
Nothing comes easy. On defense, Malik Ellison and Marcus LoVett have to lock down on Carrington and Rodriguez, slowing their attacking pace and making them earn their points. Keeping Seton hall out of transition exposes some of their weaknesses.
Limit the damage on the glass. It’s unlikely that St. John’s will win the rebounding battle, but the Johnnies can keep it close with strong efforts from Tariq Owens, Darien Williams and others.
Get the offensive gang back together. At their best, St. John’s shares and moves the ball, and Marcus LoVett and Shamorie Ponds score in bunches. Against a Seton Hall team that can be tough defensively, this will be a tall task. But a combination of shot creation from those guards, fast break opportunities and the secondary scorers moving well off the ball can resurrect the flowing St. John’s offense we have seen at times. If it’s working, we should see Federico Mussini see some scoring opportunities to complement the leading scorers.
How good is the Seton Hall defense? How engaged are they, trying to put a three-game losing streak behind them? With an NCAA Tournament at-large bid far out of their hands with another loss, expect a driven and motivated Seton Hall team to show up at home.
Rumble Prediction: 85-72 Seton Hall
KenPom Prediction: 80-71 Seton Hall (79% chance of victory for Hall)