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St. John’s vs. Seton Hall men’s basketball preview and game thread

Hatred on the Hudson

Dylan Addae-Wusu #0 reacts with Kadary Richmond #1 of the Seton Hall Pirates after a basket against the Connecticut Huskies during the second half of a game at Prudential Center on December 20, 2023 in Newark, New Jersey. Photo by Rich Schultz/Getty Images

The St. John’s men’s basketball team seek to win their first game against Seton Hall at the Prudential Center since 2014 on Tuesday night.

The Red Storm are looking to put a controversial loss to Creighton behind them, but they will face one of the hottest teams in the Big East. Seton Hall is tied for first in the conference with a 5-1 record and they have won their last four games.

Head coach Rick Pitino will not coach in tonight’s game after testing positive for COVID. Associate head coach Steve Masiello will assume head coaching duties.

Game information

Who: St. John’s Red Storm vs. Seton Hall Pirates (12-5)

When: Tuesday, January 16, 2024, 8:30 p.m.

Where: Prudential Center, Newark, NJ

TV: FS1

Radio: Learfield Red Storm Sports Network, Sirius XM Channel 389

Opening Odds: St. John’s (-1), O/U at 148

Series History: St. John’s leads, 62-48. St. John’s has lost seven of their last nine meetings.

Résumé review

St. John’s is 12-5 overall and they are tied for third in the Big East standings with a conference record of 4-2. St. John’s is currently rated 34th in KenPom and the NET rankings. Their records by NET quadrants are as follows, with opponents defeated in bold:

  • 2-3 in Quad 1 games (Utah, Dayton, @ UConn, @ Villanova, @ Creighton)
  • 4-1 in Quad 2 games (North Texas, Boston College, Xavier, Butler, Providence)
  • 2-1 in Quad 3 games (Michigan, @ West Virginia, Hofstra)
  • 4-0 in Quad 4 games (Stony Brook, Holy Cross, Sacred Heart, Fordham)

Note that Dayton, Utah, North Texas, and Boston College are designated as neutral site games

Facing Seton Hall (NET #66) on the road gives St. John’s an opportunity to have their third Quad 1 victory of this season. St. John’s only totaled three Quad 1 wins over the previous two seasons.

St. John’s is seeded in 61 different bracketology selections with an average seed of 8.11, according to Bracket Matrix. In his latest update, ESPN bracketologist Joe Lunardi has moved St. John’s up to an 7-seed.

Injury update

No current injury availability concerns for St. John’s

Scouting the Pirates

Seton Hall’s offensive metrics are pretty unremarkable, which makes their scorching Big East start so shocking. Per CBB Analytics, the Pirates shoot 60.8% at the rim, 48.8% in the paint, 32.7% from mid-range, and 32.3% from three; their scoring in the paint is the only part of the court where Seton Hall isn’t a below-average shooting team. The Pirates also have a giveaway problem, as they are tied with DePaul for most turnovers per game (13.2) among Big East teams. Yes, that DePaul team.

The Pirates predominantly operate in the interior, as their 37.3% at-the-rim attempt percentage ranks in the 93rd percentile nationally, and their 17.3 three-point attempts per game ranks in the 11th percentile nationally. 52.9% of their points are scored in the paint, which ranks 3rd in the country.

How Shaheen Holloway has developed this Pirates team into an improbable winner is by building a stout defense. Their 58.9% at-rim and 37.4% paint field goal percentages rank around the 75th percentile nationally. The Pirates virtually wipe out the mid-range jumper, holding opposing teams to a paltry 29.2% in that area. Their hustle stats are also incredible; they boast a 11.3% steal percentage (81st percentile) and a 13.4% block percentage (92nd percentile).

What sticks out is how polarizing Hall’s three-point defense is. They allow teams to shoot 30.5% from above-the-break (non-corner) threes, but allow teams fire 45.0% from corner threes on 109 attempts.

Much like St. John’s, the Pirates are incredible on the offensive glass and are ironically vulnerable in keeping opposing teams off the offensive glass. The Pirates rank 7th in the country in offensive rebound percentage (38.1%), but their 30.8% offensive rebound percentage allowed ranks in the 35th percentile in the country.

Senior guard and longest tenured Pirate Kadary Richmond is the clear leader for Seton Hall. Richmond paces the team in points (16.4), assists (4.6), and steals (2.1). He is a great distributor (29.9% AST) and an active rebounder (17.8% def. REB). Richmond is a non-factor from the perimeter, but he operates best inside the paint, scoring 59.7% on his attempts in that area.

Al-Amir Dawes and Dre Davis are the two off-ball options to monitor, with both averaging 13.4 points. Dawes has found his three-point scoring touch in conference play, shooting 46.2% from deep. Dre Davis is not lights-out like Dawes, but is shooting a respectable 35.0% in Big East games. The 6-foot-6 Davis has some defensive verticality to his game, averaging a surprising 1.2 blocks per game.

Santa Clara grad transfer Jaden Bediako is a pretty underrated center. He can hold his own offensively in the post, scoring 8.5 points per game. His 4.1 offensive rebounds per game ranks in the 99th percentile among bigs in the country and his 1.8 blocks per game ranks in the 96th percentile within that same group.

And we could not forget about the former Johnny Dylan Addae-Wusu. The linebacker trapped in a guard’s body averages 8.4 points, 5.1 rebounds, 2.1 assists, and 1.9 steals on 40% from the field and 34.5% from three. You know the story about Addae-Wusu already; he brings a different level of defensive grit and toughness than you’re accustomed to seeing from guards, but he plays with reckless abandon on the offensive end and has a tendency to make silly mistakes.

Keys to the game

Contain Dawes - Al-Amir Dawes torched the Red Storm in his two games against them last year, averaging 21.5 points on 47.4% from the field and 44.4% from three. The Red Storm have to keep tabs on the Pirates’ best shooter all night, or they will get a repeat of either of last season’s two meetings.

Daniss vs. Kadary - Daniss Jenkins is playing at a different level. In his last five games, he’s averaging 16.6 points and 6.6 assists on 43.2% from the field and 38.1% from three. Kadary Richmond is the engine of Seton Hall’s offense. If DJ can outplay Kadary Richmond, that will significantly benefit the Red Storm’s chances of winning.

Get a full 40 from Soriano - Joel Soriano had slow starts in his last two games. In the first half of his games against Providence and Creighton, Soriano combined for six points and seven rebounds on 2-of-8 shooting. St. John’s needs their all-conference big man to get involved early.

Prediction

The metrics say Seton Hall is on par with a team like Butler, but the Pirates have been a completely different team at the Prudential Center and have beaten three different ranked teams in their home building this season. St. John’s has fared well against other physical teams like Providence and Butler, and they have the depth scoring and shotmaking that Seton Hall lacks. This will be a frustrating and physical game, but St. John’s will overcome the Pirates’ grittiness. St. John’s wins, 68-63.