Friday, January 31, 2014
W2W4: St. John's vs. Marquette
By Kieran Darcy
Here's what to watch for when St. John's (12-9, 2-6 Big East) plays Marquette (12-9, 4-4 Big East) on Saturday at Madison Square Garden.
Tipoff is at 12:30 p.m. ET, and you can watch the game on Fox Sports 1:
SUPER SATURDAY: Super Bowl XLVIII is the big game in town this weekend. But the Garden will host three basketball games on Saturday.
St. John's-Marquette is the first game of an afternoon college doubleheader, with a nonconference matchup between No. 7 Michigan State and Georgetown to follow. The New York Knicks will host the Miami Heat at 8:30 p.m. ET to wrap up an extraordinary day of hoops at the World's Most Famous Arena.
The Red Storm are coming off a gut-wrenching 63-60 loss at No. 20 Creighton on Tuesday. After an 0-5 start in the Big East, St. John's is trying to finish the first half of conference play at 3-6, as opposed to 2-7. That could make a big difference as this team tries to resurrect its NCAA tournament hopes.
Coach Steve Lavin has predicted the Red Storm will jell by February. Well, Saturday is the first day of the month. The doubleheader should draw a good crowd, but will it energize the home team?
NOW OR NEVER?Rysheed Jordan, the preseason Big East Rookie of the Year, finally won his first Rookie of the Week award.
The highly touted freshman has reached double digits in only seven games this season, but that includes the past two games. Jordan scored 16 points in St. John's win at Butler on Saturday, and 11 in the loss at Creighton.
D'Angelo Harrison has delivered all season, and Jakarr Sampson has had some big games of late. But if Jordan can elevate his game to another level in February, becoming a third consistent double-figure scorer, that would make the Red Storm a much more formidable team.
THE GOLDEN EAGLES: Marquette was picked to finish at the top of the Big East in the conference's preseason coaches poll, but is currently in fifth place. The Golden Eagles have alternated wins and losses since conference play began. They're coming off an 11-point home win over Providence on Thursday. Prior to that, they played three consecutive overtime games -- a loss at Butler, a win at Georgetown, and a loss versus No. 9 Villanova.
Just two players average in double figures -- 6-foot-8 senior forward Davante Gardner (14.9 PPG, 6.2 RPG) and 6-foot-7 senior forward Jamil Wilson (11.8 PPG, 5.3 RPG). Todd Mayo, a 6-foot-3 junior guard, chips in 9.6 PPG.
Marquette's strength is defense. The Golden Eagles are 32nd in Division I in field goal percentage defense (39.6), and 48th in points allowed per game (64.8). But offensively, they're 324th (out of 345) in 3-point field goals per game (4.5).