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Thursday, January 11, 2007

BIG EAST GAME PREVIEW: St. John's @ Seton Hall

January 11, 2007

St. John's and Seton Hall meet at Continental Airlines Arena in the Meadowlands with both teams entering play with 1-1 conference records. Both teams got off to a good start in the conference, winning their opening games at home (SHU over Rutgers and SJU over DePaul) but found the road a little less to their liking last weekend when the Redstorm were thrashed at West Virginia and Seton Hall lost by 22 at Providence.

Here are a couple pregame articles:

SHU/SJU Scouting Report (Courier News)
Seton Steamroll Still Haunts SJU (NY Post)

Although this game is played on Seton Hall's home court, the home court advantage will be negligible as the Pirates have not been drawing many fans to come out and see Bobby Gonzalez's initial SHU squad. With the Redstorm making the short trip across the river, there should be no travel difficulties getting them out of their routine.

Last year when these two teams met in this venue, St. John's was cruising with a 20-pt lead with under 10 minutes to play, but the Pirates roared back and won the game in overtime.

St. John's definitely has the height advantage against the smaller Pirates and will look to take advantage, especially with Lamont Hamilton inside. Seton Hall will look to use pressure and zone defenses to force SJU to hurry up and shoot from the outside. The 'Storm shoot an awful 35% from the floor as a team, but they do hold opponents to 33%, which is impressive. They will have to locate Jamar Nutter and hope he doesn't get his shooting touch back. If he is hitting, it should create room for Eugene Harvey and Brian Laing to do their damage. St. John's does match-up fairly well defensively here and should be able to use their size advantage to control the boards and get some easy baskets.

Seton Hall will try to push tempo and avoid, at all costs, anything resembling a halfcourt game. Coming off the bench with Paul Gause and Larry Davis, the Pirates are likely to go small often. They will have to be hitting their perimeter shots, because they wont score much inside.

A big game for both treams. I think St. John's, despite being 3.5-pt underdogs, is a little deeper as a whole and will hold on to their lead this time.

NBE Blogger Prediction: St. John's 66 Seton Hall 64


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