St. John’s win over Georgetown tonight means there’s at least one more day of basketball this season — against the team that won the top spot in the Big East Tournament bracket.
We certainly talk like the Johnnies have a favorable path to the Big East championship game — but despite facing a Creighton team that might be missing its best playmaker, the Red Storm’s path gets much harder here.
Especially without many fans. From the league, following in the footsteps of other conferences and the NCAA:
The Big East Conference announced tonight that the remainder of the conference’s men’s basketball tournament, which continues tomorrow through Saturday, will be played under a restricted attendance policy. Attendees will be limited to student-athletes, coaches, event staff, essential team and conference staff, television personnel, credentialed media and immediate family members of the participating teams. Schools will be limited to 200 tickets per institution.
(It could be worse; the NBA suspended the season after finding a Utah Jazz player tested positive for the coronavirus.)
On a short night’s rest, with likely no practice or scouting how Creighton plays without Marcus Zegarowski, against a rested and vengeance-minded Creighton team? Zegarowski is sidelined after knee surgery, but the point guard is expected back for the NCAA Tournament)
Expect a big performance and a lot of energy out of the Bluejays... but the Johnnies know they have a chance, given the 91-71 victory a few weeks ago. Was that a fluke? Or just a good, well-executed matchup?
Big East Tournament Game Information
Who: St. John’s Red Storm (17-15, 5-13 Big East) vs. Creighton Bluejays (24-7, 13-5 Big East)
When: Thursday, March 12, 12:00 PM
Where: Madison Square Garden, New York, NY
TV: FS1 | Fox Sports Online
Audio: St. John’s website provides free audio for the game. The stream can be found by clicking here.
Tickets: Tickets are as low as $9.50. Given the unknowns about the COVID-19 virus and it’s spread, take precautions before jumping on a ticket deal, of course; other conferences are playing games without fans.
Last Meeting: St. John’s got hot late and blew out Creighton at Carnesecca Arena. I’m sure they won’t remember it, though.
Last Big East game: The Johnnies took out Georgetown with a late-game spurt, which included a 23-0 run. Creighton handled Seton Hall 77-60.
Keys to the Game
A few keys for the Johnnies against Creighton:
1: The Bluejays want to put up points but need a player to run the offense. Will it by Ty-Shon Alexander? Will freshman Shereef Mitchell step in? Will Denzel Mahoney get the start? Either way, Mitch Ballock was held to three points; he and Alexander, if they can get the offense moving against the Red Storm pressure, will score much more than that.
2: Creighton is certainly willing to let opponents shoot shots. But the Red Storm need to make shots. St. John’s is not a consistent shooting team. Against the Hoyas, Marcellus Earlington & LJ Figueroa combined for 7/15 shooting from beyond the arc, but the rest of the team shot 1/11.
3: What if Creighton unleashes their size in the form of Kelvin Jones? We should expect a better effort on the glass overall from the Bluejays.
The matchup is ideal, but the timing —just dinner, breakfast then basketball — is not. Johnnies run out of gas, 81-65 loss.