St. John’s will wind down their regular season this afternoon against the #6 team in the country on the road, as they take on the Marquette Golden Eagles in Milwaukee. The Red Storm should be well-rested coming into today’s matchup, as they have not played since last Saturday, when they suffered a loss to UConn at the Garden.
In the recent loss to UConn, which was senior night for the Johnnies, UConn was allowed to maintain control for basically the entire game, as they developed a 15-point lead early in the game and never gave up that lead.
It has been a while since these two teams have met. The Red storm will look to salvage a season split against a hot Marquette team that should feel confident, having sealed the league's regular season title. But the Johnnies gave the Golden Eagles a real challenge last time out, and could surprise.
Who: St. John’s Red Storm (17-13, 7-12 Big East) vs Marquette Golden Eagles (24-6, 16-3 Big East)
When: Saturday, March 4, 2023, 2:00 PM
Where: Fiserv Forum, Milwaukee, Wisconsin
Odds: Marquette -11.5
Catching up with Both Teams
Recapping the First Matchup
The last time these teams met was early in conference play, on January 3 at Carnesecca Arena. The Johnnies looked a little different then than they do now, as Montez Mathis was still healthy and in the starting lineup. AJ Storr was not the key starter that he is now, and Andre Curbelo was unavailable for “failing to meet team standards.”
The Red Storm had a very good first half, as they led 48-41 going into the break. This was due to good play on both sides of the ball as a team, and a dominant individual performance from Joel Soriano, who had 16 points and 5 rebounds when the 20 minutes expired.
The Red Storm came out of the break allowing the Golden Eagles to go on big runs to start the second half; Marquette took a comfortable lead from the Johnnies and never let it get below 4 points. The key to Marquette’s dominant second half was three-point shooting, as the Johnnies could not effectively defend the perimeter and Marquette hit 7 of their 12 attempts from deep.
Joel Soriano was the Red Storm’s top performer, finishing with 22 points and 13 rebounds. Dylan Addae-Wusu had a very solid game, scoring 21 points and dishing out 5 assists. Posh Alexander was the Johnnies’ top performer off the bench, as he had 11 points, 4 rebounds, 5 assists, and 3 steals.
For Marquette, junior forward Olivier-Maxence Prosper had himself a game, scoring 29 points and grabbing 7 rebounds. Prosper went 4-5 from beyond the arc. Starting guards Kam Jones, Tyler Kolek, and Stevie Mitchell all scored double-figures, finishing with 16, 14, and 11, respectively.
Marquette Since the First Matchup
The Golden Eagles, who were already having a solid season the last time these teams faced off, has been red-hot since knocking off the Red Storm, going 12-2 in the 14 games they have played since, going from unranked to the #6-ranked team in the nation.
Marquette has one of the best offenses in the country in terms of efficiency, as their 49.5% team field goal percentage is the sixth-best of all Division I teams. They are very good at getting looks and converting looks, and are able to do so inside or outside, as they are also a top 50 team in terms of threes made per game. Defensively, the Golden Eagles are very good at forcing turnovers and stealing the ball, as they force 16.1 turnovers per game and are top 10 in the nation in steals per game. One reason Marquette is so good is because they are comfortable playing together, as head coach Shaka Smart has used the same lineup for every game this season.
Marquette is a very good all around team, but one area that can cause them to struggle is when they cannot shoot, as they shot below 30% from deep in three of their six losses. They also struggle when their opponents score the ball efficiently, as Marquette’s opponents have shot 45% from the field or better in five of their six losses.
St. John’s Since the First Matchup
The Johnnies have also played six games since the January 3 matchup, and have gone 6-8 in that stretch. The Red Storm have struggled a lot during conference play this year, as they have shown good flashes, but have been unable to be consistent and have not strung together three Big East wins at any point.
Recently, the Johnnies have really struggled being efficient on offense, especially from deep. They have also struggled a lot with perimeter defense, as their opponents have shot better than 35% from deep in all four of their most recent four games.
Keys to the Game
Defense. This is the best offense the Red Storm will play all year, and they need to be as good as they can possibly be on the defensive end to earn a win. Effective backcourt pressure and not allowing easy looks at the rim or from deep will be key.
Don’t be flat. The Red Storm need an energetic start to the game and an energetic game in general, not only in their effort to win today’s matchup but also to propel them a little for the Big East Tournament, which starts Wednesday.
Protect the ball. The Johnnies have averaged 13.8 turnovers in their past four games, which is not going to work against a Marquette team that is 7th in the nation in steals per contest. Red Storm guards need to make smart decisions with the ball today and cannot allow the Golden Eagles to run away with the game through turnovers.
The Johnnies close their regular season with an 80-68 loss to Marquette.