After a rough loss in a poor effort against Creighton, St. John’s looks to put their struggles in the rearview tomorrow when they take on the Seton Hall Pirates at the Garden. The matchup will be the first game the two teams play in three days; COVID cases caused their first matchup, which was set to open Big East play on December 20, to be canceled.
The Pirates had a great start to their season in non-conference play, but have not started out Big East play as hot, going 2-4 so far. Their most recent two games have been close losses to Marquette and DePaul.
The Johnnies are coming off a very bad performance in Omaha, and could use a home win against a team like Seton Hall. The Pirates have been shaky lately, but the Red Storm haven’t been great either, as both teams come into the matchup in much need of a win.
Who: St. John’s Red Storm (10-6, 2-3 Big East) vs Seton Hall Pirates (11-5, 2-4 Big East)
When: Saturday, January 21, 2022, 12:00 PM
Where: Madison Square Garden, New York, New York
Odds: Seton Hall -4.5
Last Season: The teams both won at home during the regular season, and the Pirates knocked off the Johnnies in the first round of the Big East Tournament.
Scouting Seton Hall
The Pirates are coached by Kevin Willard for the 12th consecutive season. The tall, veteran Hall score a lot of points, coming into the matchup averaging 78.6 points per contest, largely due to the fact that they make the second most free throws per game of all Division I teams. Unlike Creighton, the Hall looks to isolate and attack individually, drawing fouls. The Pirates have one of the lowest assist rates in the nation. They also do not shoot threes often.
Seton Hall has a current KenPom ranking of 29 and a NET ranking of 30, providing the Red Storm with a Quad 1 opportunity at home. They had some very solid wins in their non-conference games, most notably against #4 ranked Michigan and #7 ranked Texas.
The Pirates have two guards who score the ball at a high rate, coming in the form of 6-6 senior Jared Rhoden and 6-0 grad student Bryce Aiken. Rhoden leads the team with an average of 16.6 points in addition to the 6.8 boards he grabs per game, and Aiken contributes 14.5 points per game while connecting on 1.6 threes at a rate of 35.3%.
Another backcourt contributor for Seton Hall is 6-6 grad student Myles Cale, who has started all 13 games he has played in with averages of 8.7 points and 3.8 rebounds. Cale is probably the best backcourt defender for the Pirates in his fifth season with the team, averaging 1.5 steals and having a defensive rating of 95.7.
Kadary Richmond is also a solid backcourt defender for Seton Hall, as the 6-5 sophomore from Brooklyn averages 1.6 steals in addition to his 8.3 points, 3.8 rebounds, and 3.4 assists per contest. The last rotation guard for the Pirates is 6-2 grad student Jamir Harris, who has played in all 16 games and averaged 6.4 points. Of the 6.1 field goals Harris attempts per game, 4.6 are from deep, where he connects at a 33.8% rate.
In Seton Hall’s froncourt, their leading scorer is 6-8 grad transfer from USF Alexis Yetna, who averages 9.7 points and 7.5 rebounds a game. Often joining Yetna is 7-2 grad center Ike Obeagu, who protects the inside for the Pirates, averaging 3.4 blocks a game to go along with 3.1 points and 3.8 rebounds. After Ryan Kalkbrenner gave the Johnnies trouble on Wednesday, Obeagu is of similar stature and can disrupt St. John’s inside.
Often coming off the bench for the Pirates is 6-10 junior forward Tyrese Samuel, who averages 9.0 points and 6.0 rebounds per game while shooting 53.3% from the floor. Seton Hall’s other forward who usually comes off the bench is another 6-10 junior, Tray Jackson. Jackson averages 7.2 points and 4.1 rebounds in the 18.8 minutes he plays.
Keys to the Game
Have a good game out of Champagnie. Whether you like it or not, this Red Storm offense relies a lot on Champagnie. He really struggled a lot against Creighton and was practically non-existent in the first 30 minutes of the game, and the Johnnies offense struggled to get buckets with him not being a threat.
Compete on the glass. St. John’s had an awful rebounding game against the Bluejays, as they were outrebounded 46-28 and allowed Ryan Kalkbrenner to pull down seven offensive boards. Seton Hall has guys who can play inside, and the Johnnies need to compete with them to pull off a win.
Shoot efficiently. The Johnnies need smart shots in order to avoid what happened against Creighton, where they shot 38.6% from the floor and 25% from deep. They need to run a good half court offense that sets them up for success with good looks.
St. John’s fights hard but drops the home matchup to the Pirates, 80-73.