Oh snap! BIG EAST play is here, and the Friars are already showing some toughness in the media by talking about not getting any respect. While the schedule is made beforehand and St. John’s couldn’t possibly know beforehand that the Friars would play well in OOC play, I like where your head is at Council!
Heading into this season, this game didn’t seem all too winnable with the amount of talent St. John’s was bringing in, coupled with how the Friars usually fared on the road. However, wins at Fairfield, South Carolina, and URI have brought hope to being able to execute on the road against teams in the bottom half of the conference.
WHAT TO: KNOW
Game Time: 7:00PM EST
Opponent: St. John’s (6-5)
Location: Carnesecca Arena
Spread: Providence -1.5
ESPN Accuscore: Providence 66.7, St. John’s 66.6 (Each team wins 50% of over 10,000 simulations)
CBSSports Daily Picks: Providence 70, St. John’s 67
WHAT TO: LOOK FOR
Council Wants Respect: You can argue that Vincent Council has been the best player on the court in all of the Friars games so far this year. BIG EAST play is obviously going to be a different story, but being able to lead and perform against more athletic teams in opposing gyms is the way for everyone to continue talking about The General. Council is from New York and told the New York post that was irked to not be playing at Madison Square Garden. Giving him any additional motivation with they way he’s been playing could be dangerous for St. John’s.
Continuing Rebounding: The Friars are coming off a game against URI in which they dominated the glass, grabbing over 50% of their misses. It remains to be seen if it’s the impact of Kadeem Batts being back in the lineup, or if the Friars will go back to their ways of struggling on the glass. St. John’s hasn’t been great with their defensive rebounding (65.3% defensive rebounding percentage, ranked #275), so PC definitely has a good chance at starting off BIG EAST play with a good game on the boards.
Different St. John’s Dynamic: Point guard Nurideen Lindsey left the team after a first semester of mixed results. He used up 28% of possessions, and was incredibly inefficient (84.2 offensive rating) due to numerous turnovers. However, he helped drive the offense and the team has needed to adjust a little bit in the half court. Freshman forward Amir Garret came in for the 2nd semester, and logged 15 minutes in his first game back. While he may not be up to contributing at a high level yet, it gives the Red Storm much needed depth in the front court.
Getting to the line: St. John’s has not been giving up many trips to the line this season. Their 22.8 opponent free throw rate is ranked 8th in the country. While it may seem like a good thing for the Friars with their foul shooting woes, Gerard Coleman has been fantastic in this department so far this year. Coleman has the most free throw attempts in the BIG EAST, and 35th in the entire country. Something has to give. On the other side of the coin, The Storm have been great at getting to the line themselves. God’s Gift Achiuwa get’s 31% of his points from freebies, so PC’s big men will have to be extra careful to stay out of foul trouble.
WHAT TO: READ
Friars.com: Gamenotes [PDF]
St. John’s has posted a 6-5 record this season. In the team’s most recent game, the Red Storm defeated Texas-Pan American, 66-61, on December 21. Second-year Head Coach Steve Lavin starts four freshman. Fresh- man Moe Harkness is tied for the team lead in scoring (14.2 ppg) and leads the squad in rebounding (8.1 rpg). Freshman guard D’Angelo Harrison also is tied for the team lead in scoring (14.2 ppg).
RedStormSports.com: St. John’s Opens BIG EAST Conference Play With Providence On Tuesday
The Red Storm is 6-1 at home and 5-1 on campus this season. Now in its 51st season, St. John’s is 426-81 (.840) in 507 games and 50-plus years at Carnesecca Arena, which underwent Phase III of its interior renovation in the summer of 2009 as part of the multi-phase upgrade to the facility. The installation of a new high-resolution video scoreboard and sound system, a refurbishing of the arena ceiling and the implementation of a new lighting system are among the series of changes Red Storm fans enjoyed beginning in 2009-10.
New York Post: St. John’s plays Providence in Big East opener
They bring an 11-2 record and a seven-game win streak into tonight’s Big East Conference opener against St. John’s at Carnesecca Arena. Council told The Post he believes this is his team, he is its leader and the Friars have not gotten nearly the respect they deserve.
“I’d rather be playing in the Garden,’’ said Council. ‘‘Carnesecca is a nice gym, but it’s not the Garden. We’re 11-2. We deserve more respect.’’
The same can be said for Council, although he’s reluctant to say it himself.
ESPN New York: W2W4: St. John’s vs. Providence
This will be the Big East opener for both teams — in fact, this is the very first night of Big East conference play, with one other game also on the slate (Pittsburgh at Notre Dame).
St. John’s had an up-and-down 11-game stretch to start the season, but the Red Storm have won two straight heading into this matchup. The six first-year players in the seven-man rotation will get their first taste of Big East action on Tuesday night.
“Things are coming along,” said freshman point guard Phil Greene on Monday. “We’ve been having long, tough practices so we can be ready and be prepared for the Big East. We know it’s going to be a challenge, but we’re up to the challenge.”
Instead, they open the Big East schedule on Tuesday night at struggling St. John’s with 11 wins and a seven-game win streak. Providence is led by arguably one of the top seven lead guards in the league in junior Vincent Council. “We are way ahead of schedule,” Cooley said Monday night from New York, where he was preparing for the meeting with the Red Storm. “I never would have thought we’d be in this position after our first practice in April. We couldn’t do a three-man drill, a close out, a layup. We had to stop, stop and stop.”
Stripped of much of its depth, and missing its coach, a team that relied on an up-tempo defense to force turnovers suddenly found itself playing with as few as 5-6 players, making it impossible to run other teams off the court without getting winded. The freshmen predictably struggled somewhat, and the roster had no depth with experience, either.
The results have been about what you’d expect. St. John’s is just 6-5 entering conference play Tuesday night against Providence, with losses to lesser NCAA lights Detroit and Northeastern, and close-fought victories over Fordham and, last week, Texas Pan-American.
Beyond the Arc: St. John’s long season in Big East starts tonight
St. John’s, in full-rebuilding mode with its flock of freshmen and transfers, is shaping up to be the league’s bottom dweller. It’s 6-5 and opens its league schedule Tuesday night against Providence, which is essentially a coin-flip game.
It also might be the last really good chance for a win until February. And even that may be a stretch.
CBS New York: Rothstein Files: News And Notes Around College Hoops
After losing to both Iowa State and Northern Iowa in South Padre over Thanksgiving, Cooley has led the Friars to seven consecutive wins putting them at 11-2 heading into tonight’s game against St. John’s at Carnesecca Arena.
Rumble in the Garden: Game 12: St. John’s vs Providence (Big East conference opener)
Defend the middle. Gerard Coleman has been an excellent scorer for the Friars, but needs to slash into the lane to score and draw fouls. He needs to be made to take jump shots, as do the other Friars. The zone has to move and rotate to keep driving players out of the center of the lane. When Council or Coleman can break a defense down, they can finish or kick out to sharpshooter Bryce Cotton, who is shooting 43% on three-pointers.
Draw fouls. Facing the Friars’ lack of depth – and the Red Storm’s lack of offense at times – the Johnnies have to goad the Friars into sending them to the line.
WHAT TO: LISTEN TO
WHAT TO: WATCH
St John’s University press conference prior to Providence College game.
The Sports Cycle’s Donnie Dwyer travels to the Mecca of Basketball in Madison Square Garden to report on the Fordham-St. John’s game. Last year Fordham came out on top 84-81 at the Rose Hill Gym thanks to Senior Brenton Butler. However in 2011, the youth was a huge factor in the loss.
St. John’s Freshman Sir’Dominic slams home an awesome tip dunk in his hometown of Detroit.
The Cats’ take on the Johnnies at MSG in the Coaches vs Cancer 2K Classic(11-17-11)
WHERE TO: FOLLOW
Twitter.com: I’ll probably be live tweeting the game @friarblog. Also be sure to follow the #pcbb hashtag as always.
WHERE TO: WATCH
Cox (NOTE: The guide is apparently wrong, and the game will be on)
FriarTV: PC vs. St. John’s
WHERE TO: LISTEN
WEEI 103.7 FM