“In the last game [against DePaul] there were two different halves, quite frankly,” Chris Mullin said to the Big East media.
And he’s right. Except he also said that his “mind doesn’t go back that far” as two weeks ago, when DePaul throttled St. John’s in the second half.
If Mullin and his staff was looking back, they would see a disturbing trend of rough defensive second halves, one that doesn’t have an easy solution, outside of preserving the players’ foul trouble.
The Red Storm may make the NCAA Tournament without a win. Some outlets have the Johnnies safely in; others see a bubble profile. We won’t know the truth until Sunday.
But a win would solidify their chances, and wipe some stink off of the last month, one where the Red Storm should have been able to clearly separate themselves from the pack.
Who: St. John’s Red Storm (20-11, 8-10 Big East) vs DePaul Blue Demons (15-14, 7-11 Big East)
Where: Madison Square Garden (cap: 19,812)
When: Wednesday, March 13, 9:30 PM
TV: FS1 | Fox Online
Audio: 570 AM WMCA | TuneIn Radio
Odds: St. John’s, -4.5
Scouting DePaul/ St. John’s
In the last half played against DePaul, Max Strus went off for 36. In the half. Obviously, St. John’s has done a better job denying him the looks he likes off of screens and the spots he went to on the right side of the court.
Femi Olujobi and Paul Reed are hard to handle bigs inside the arc.
St. John’s needs to get production from Shamorie Ponds on the perimeter, of course, but the team also needs to attack inside, using Justin Simon and Marvin Clark II — plus Mustapha Heron — to draw fouls and tilt the game their way.
But really, this game depends on St. John’s playing with fire, heart and energy.
From the NY Post:
Playing with emotion will be essential. That has been missing during this poor stretch. Ponds said there have been times players have been “going through the motions,” and pointed at himself as one of the culprits. Junior Mustapha Heron, Ponds and Clark all said they need to play faster, especially against DePaul, which swept the season series.
“We got to play fast from the jump. No matter if they dunk, we got to get it out and go,” Clark said. “That’s where our matchup [advantage] is. We have to run them into the ground.”
That about sums it up.
Playing well, St. John’s should be able to make a run.
Playing poorly, well....
We will leave the predictions and the keys to the game to the Rumble readers. We think they can win, and they need to neutralize the size, foul less, and keep DePaul from having offensive flow.