"It's a big rivalry game,” Chris Mullin said yesterday. “A lot of those kids are from the New York area. [We're] at The Garden so we're looking for a high-intensity, high-energy game. Seton Hall won in overtime last night and they have a lot of experience. It's a big game for both teams."
As Chris Mullin told reporters during Thursday’s Big East conference call, St. John’s is preparing for a battle against rival Seton Hall.
The Johnnies will look to bounce back after a decisive loss at Villanova - and a week off. They will get a good chance to do so on Saturday, as they are set to take Madison Square Garden’s hardwood. The last game wasn’t pretty especially on the glass, and this game will see the Pirates missing a key rotation player.
Can St. John’s rock the Pirates’ boat?
Who: St. John’s Red Storm (11-14, 5-7 Big East) vs Seton Hall Pirates (15-8, 5-6 Big East)
What: Big East Conference game
Where: Madison Square Garden, New York, NY
When: Saturday, February 11th, 12:00 PM ET
TV: CBS Sports Network (look it up on your cable system; also available online)
Audio: St. John’s TV All-Access will provide free audio for the contest. You can also use Tune In radio, reachable here. Also live game audio can be found on SiriusXM.
Tickets: Secure your seat for St. John’s latest contest at Madison Square Garden. Those tickets could be found here.
Fun Fact: Seton Hall was founded in 1856 by Bishop James Roosevelt Bayley.
Scouting Seton Hall
Since last playing St. John’s, the Pirates have gone 2-2. Those two losses were at the hands of Butler and Xavier, while the two victories came in overtime against Providence and Georgetown.
Things remain similar for Seton Hall, as they firmly stand on the bubble. They cannot afford many more losses if they want to make the tournament, especially against St. John’s.
Kevin Willard’s club could use some more offensive production down the stretch. The Hall are stout inside, with much of their production coming inside the arc from Khadeen Carrington’s jumpers and Angel Delgado’s tremendous work under the hoop. But other players have been inconsistent, from Desi Rodriguez’s recent lackluster performances to inconsistent output from the guards.
And with Ismael Sanogo out with an injury, Seton Hall’s rotation was six players in the overtime win against Providence.
One bright spot on the offensive end has been their ability to rebound. Nearly 35% of their offensive possessions this season have resulted in a second-chance opportunity.
Despite their efforts on the offensive glass, Seton Hall has struggled to shoot from three. As a team they shoot about 34% from behind the arc, which is second-worst in the Big East. Myles Powell, the freshman guard, has been hit-and-miss from outside the arc, but has hit a career-high of 26 at Xavier in a two-point loss.
In addition, the Pirates have struggled to limit turnovers. Just about 20% of their offensive possessions result in a turnover, and 10% end with a steal from the opposition.
Defensively, Seton Hall has done a very nice job this year. KenPom ranks the Pirates defense 33rd in the nation, and second in the Big East. Some of their strongest aspects include rebounding, perimeter defense, and steals. They average about 41 total rebounds per game, 28 capping off defense stops. They lead the Big East in both of those categories.
As for perimeter defense, Seton Hall opponents have shot an uninspiring 33% from deep. St. John’s values the three-point shot as much as anyone, so this is less than ideal for a Johnnies team that struggles to find inside presence.
Furthermore, Seton Hall forces a steal on approximately 10% of opponents possessions. Collectively, the Pirates average 7 steals per contest.
Pirates to watch
Angel Delgado. Delgado went off for 20 rebounds (14 defensive) and 21 points, carving out space inside and sloughing off St. John’s defenders as if they were middle school-sized. Delgado is excellent, but St. John’s needs to compete on the glass and not allow Delgado to set the tone, grabbing offensive boards and commanding double-teams. Delgado can shoot a mid-range jump shot, but that shot is less deadly than him borrowing deep under the basket.
Khadeen Carrington. Carrington struggled to hit shots (3/12 from the field) in the first game, but the Brooklyn native can score buckets in a hurry. And he handed out eight assists. St. John’s needs to make passing harder for the Hall and keep Carrington under wraps.
Desi Rodriguez. Rodriguez can play a number of roles, doing the dirty work of defending and rebounding, shooting from outside the arc, slashing inside. Keeping him struggling as he has in his past two games (3/19 inside the arc, 2/9 from beyond the three point line, four free throws attempted) could become a key to the game if St. John’s keeps the contest competitive.
Keys to contest
Negate the interior. If you like raw numbers, St. John’s was out-rebounded by 12. If you like percentages, St. John’s allowed Seton Hall to grab 36% of their misses, which is quite bad. If you like paint points, the Pirates scored 46 of their 86 points inside the paint. St. John’s has to do better, and make the Hall shoot jump shots.
Better execution. In the sluggish first half, St. John’s had players who tried to make up the difference with individual play. That’s not an aberration for St. John’s - with talent like Marcus LoVett, Bashir Ahmed and Shamorie Ponds, players have to attack. But they often took contested shots, didn’t move the ball around and didn’t show an inclination for patience. The Johnnies need to attack - but against a disciplined Seton Hall defense, the team also needs to move the ball around for the best opportunity, not just the first opportunity.
Sha-MORE-ie. Shamorie Ponds scored nine against Seton Hall in the first meeting. For the Red Storm to win, Ponds needs scoring bursts to help draw attention from his teammates.
Can St. John’s handle the Pirates on the glass or down low? Those two areas will play a significant role in this contest, and St. John’s is unlikely to win those battles. In addition, Seton Hall has more to play for in this one. That is always tough to overcome, as a loss here would hurt their tournament standing.
KenPom Prediction: 76-75 Seton Hall (51% chance of victory)
Rumble Prediction: 80-72 Hall