Wednesday, December 18, 2013
W2W4: St. John's vs. San Francisco
By Kieran Darcy
Here's what to watch for when St. John's (6-3) plays San Francisco (6-4) on Wednesday at Carnesecca Arena.
Tipoff is scheduled for 8 p.m., and you can watch the game on Fox Sports 1.
HANGOVER? St. John's is looking to rebound after coming up just short against No. 2 Syracuse on Sunday at Madison Square Garden.
Have the Red Storm recovered? Or will the disappointment linger, affecting their ability to get up for a lesser opponent?
It's easy to be distracted this time of year, with the semester ending and Christmas a week away. But St. John's can't afford a slip-up. (And the Red Storm lost at San Francisco last December 81-65.) In the latest edition of ESPN's Bracketology, published Monday, the Red Storm are not projected to be in the NCAA tournament field of 68, nor even among the next eight teams.
St. John's needs to come out of the gates fast -- something the team has failed to do repeatedly this season.
ENCORE? Freshman Rysheed Jordan is coming off his best game of the season by far. Jordan had 13 points, six rebounds and three assists in 31 minutes against Syracuse.
He shot just 2-for-8 from the field and is shooting only 25.5 percent on the season, but Jordan drove the ball effectively, drew contact and drained all nine of his free throw attempts. His confidence should be bolstered, and he should continue to be more aggressive.
Let's see if Jordan can build on that performance. Coach Steve Lavin was counting on him being a difference-maker this season.
THE DONS: San Francisco was picked to finish fourth in the 10-team West Coast Conference in the preseason coaches' poll. Following a two-week layoff, USF routed Nicholls State at home Saturday 77-48.
Its three other wins against Division I opponents were over Cleveland State, Montana and Vermont. Its four losses were to Nevada, Idaho State, No. 13 Oregon and Illinois State.
The Dons, coached by former Kansas star Rex Walters, are led by 6-foot-7 senior forward Cole Dickerson, who leads the team in scoring (15.4 PPG) and rebounding (8.2 RPG). Dickerson shoots 52.8 percent from the field and 43.6 percent from beyond the arc.
But San Francisco lost senior point guard Cody Doolin, the team's second-leading scorer, after just four games when Doolin left the team for personal reasons.
San Francisco is a strong offensive team -- ranked 23rd in the country in scoring (84.4 PPG), 20th in field goal percentage (49.7) and tied for 33rd in 3-point field goals per game (8.2). But the Dons are tied for 303rd (out of 351 Division I schools) in free throw percentage (64.2).
On defense, the Dons are 304th in field goal percentage allowed (47.2) and 313th in 3-point field goal percentage allowed (38.6). Expect a high-scoring affair in Queens on Wednesday night.