Your Musketeers have somehow avoiding playing St. John's all season long, but that ends on Saturday when the two face off in the Cintas Center. The game time was moved to 12:30 to allow FOX national to air the game. That means that it is time to shine. Before the game starts though, we need to learn more about our opponent. To do that, we talked to our good friend Norman Rose over at Rumble in the Garden to learn more. Here is what he had to say.
1.) Good to see you Rumble in the Garden! How are things going in Johnnie Land?
For St. John's, there's an interesting mix of feeling that the season has fallen off the rails, and the fleeting hope that the talented seniors can put it all together and get St. John's to the NCAA tournament... maybe. There's been drama along the way after a hot start to the season. The team's lack of depth in particular has been a problem, but a few bench players of stepped up recently to give a few solid minutes. Is it enough to turn the season around? We will find out in the coming weeks.
2.) We're all aware of D'Angelo Harrison and Chris Obekpa and what they can do, but who else has been making an impact for the Red Storm?
Sir`Dominic Pointer has been on the fire for St. John's, winning three Big East honor roll awards and helping to power the Red Storm's pressure defense and offense inside the arc. He's really been the X factor for the team and has made Obekpa's absence a little easier to bear recently.
Rysheed Jordan has also stepped up his game, looking more confident in his shot taking and also being effective on both ends of the ball, not turning the ball over as much as he used to.
But Harrison is probably the engine that makes his team run, and if they are going to make a postseason run he is going to carry them.
3.) Speaking of Obekpa, will he play on Saturday or not?
Your guess is probably as good as mine, but I would think so. The team deeply needs him, if only for depth against the likes of Stainbrook and Jalen Reynolds and company. St. John's is already small; without a backbone, they are just tiny. Now of course in the last few games St. John's has been effective playing small... But they haven't played against a team with a strong post presences.
4.) At this point, what will St. John's need to do to make the big dance?
I think St. John's probably needs to take at least two of the four games they have against Xavier and Georgetown (three would be even better), win against Seton Hall, beat Marquette on the road, and then maybe take a road game from Villanova.
A tall task, five wins in seven games!
Without that, I think the Red Storm need a deep run in the Big East tournament.
5.) If you could take any current player off another Big East team and put them on St. John's roster, who would you pick and why?
I would take Daniel Ochefu - he rebounds extremely well, which is something the St. John's team needs, and he doesn't need the ball all the time which frees up shots for the other St. John's players.
6.) Prediction on how this game will go?
I think St. John's comes with a great effort, but there is a lull sometime in the beginning of the second-half that does them in. St. John's loses by five or 10 points, and struggles with Xavier's packed in defense.
Also on a personal note: I am blessed to be able to attend this game in person tomorrow. For those that do not know, I life on the west coast (hence the name), but am making the trek to Cincinnati to watch the game. So you will not see my in the live thread tomorrow, but you may just hear me on your tv yelling. Let's Go X.