“First and foremost, it is the opportunity to bring home a preseason championship. It is definitely something that is on our minds and something we think about,” said St. John’s forward Marvin Clark II about the AdvoCare Invitational. “How we play and how skilled and talented we are, we feel that we can play with anybody, but it is just a matter of coming out and bringing it from the jump.”
St. John’s will undoubtedly have a few significant opportunities in Florida, beginning with Oregon State on Thanksgiving.
Who: St. John’s Red Storm (4-0) vs. Oregon State Beavers (2-1)
What: First Round of 2017 AdvoCare Invitational
Where: HP Field House, Kissimmee, Florida
When: Thursday, November 23nd, 2:00 PM ET
Audio: 970 AM WNYM; TuneIn Radio
Last Meeting: St. John’s outlasted Oregon State 66-63 in the 2001 Great Alaska Shootout.
Scouting Oregon State
Much like Nebraska, the Beavers present St. John’s a very winnable contest versus a Power 5 opponent. As you may know, the Johnnies blew out Nebraska at home.
However, do not discount Oregon State. Led by fourth-year coach Wayne Tinkle, the Beavers should be better than last season in which they only won five games.
Oregon State returns all five starters from last year. Currently, forward Tres Tinkle leads the team in scoring. He is averaging 21 points per game so far. Last time out against Long Beach State he added 20 points and shot 64% from the field. His partner in the frontcourt Drew Eubanks is the Beavers second-leading scorer. He is averaging 20 points as well as seven rebounds per contest.
Collectively, Oregon State averages 85 points per game. The Beavers have shot 63% from within the arc this year. Furthermore, they have been effective drawing fouls and getting to the free-throw line. Almost 25% of their points are from the charity stripe, which is the 52nd best in the country according to KenPom.
If there is one main weakness offensively for the Beavers, it is they struggle to shoot the deep ball. Only 24% of their shots from three-point territory have hit.
Defensively, Oregon State may be at a disadvantage against St. John’s. Just as the Beavers have struggled to shot the three, they have also had a tough time defending it. Opponents are shooting about 42% from the perimeter. The Red Storm are a shooting team, with just about one-third of their points coming from three-point land.
Keys to contest
Defend at a high-level: St. John’s defense has propelled them to victory so far this season. Opponents have struggled to score on the Red Storm. Additionally, the Johnnies are top ten in the nation in turnover percentage per KenPom. St. John’s has to keep up the great defensive effort against a formidable Beavers offensive unit.
Finish on defense: Oregon State is the tallest team St. John’s has faced yet to date. This will be an immense challenge for the still undetermined Red Storm frontcourt. The Johnnies need strong performances from all of Clark, Tariq Owens, and Kassoum Yakwe defending the low post and rebounding.
Backcourt domination: The Beavers could very likely win the battle down low, but St. John’s guards must outperform Oregon State guards. Almost 43 points per contest come from the Shamorie Ponds, Marcus LoVett, and Justin Simon trio. In what still appears to be one of the best backcourts in the country, St. John’s needs to get all three guards performing at their highest level.
Looking at this matchup on paper, Oregon State seems to have a slight edge in the frontcourt. Still, it appears the Beavers may struggle to contain Ponds, LoVett, and Simon. The Red Storm backcourt is just so explosive and versatile; I’d expect the guards to push St. John’s over the top in a tight one.