Providence, fresh off a dismantling at the hands of the Marquette Golden Eagles, look to right the ship against St. Johns. The Friars play the Red Storm Saturday at Noon in Providence on FS1.
We break down the Red Storm and detail our keys to the game for a Friar victory.
St. John’s Team Overview
St. Johns is currently 9-3, coming off a win at home against DePaul on 1/5. That was their first game since 12/18 due to COVID concerns. They are ironically at the top of the Big East standings with a 1-0 record, with Providence second at 3-1.
St. John’s probably has the most dynamic duo in the entire Big East. The tip of the spear is Julian Champagnie. Champagnie leads the Big East in points at 21.5 points/game. He’s also top 10 in rebounds, top 2 in steals, top 3 in three point field goal percentage, and top 10 in blocks in the conference. Simply put, he can do everything. In my opinion, he is the runaway Big East POY to date, and I don’t particularly think it is all that close.
The Robin to Champagnie’s Batman is sophomore point guard Posh Alexander. Posh won rookie of the year and co-defensive player of the year last year. Alexander currently leads the Big East in steals per game, but is also another extremely well rounded player. He is putting up 15.9 points, 5 assists, and 4.2 rebounds, and 2.5 steals a game.
Rounding out the rest of the contributors are Montez Mathis, Fordham transfer big Joel Soriano, and Vermont transfer Stef Smith (who Providence kicked the tires on), and Dylan Addae-Wusu.
Keys to Victory
- Make Somebody Besides Champagnie Beat Providence – I presume Justin Minaya is going to be assigned to guarding Champagnie the entirety of the game. While I think Minaya is one of the better defenders I’ve seen in a Providence uniform, I don’t think leaving Minaya 1:1 against Champagnie is a recipe for success. I would throw two defenders at Champagnie as frequently as possible and force the rest of his teammates to beat Providence. Champagnie can ruin a gameplan, so I advise not to give him that opportunity.
- Take care of the basketball – This rings even more true after the 14 turnovers against Marquette (1o in first half). St. John’s is going to pressure Providence and look to get in transition as frequently as possible. The easiest way for them to get into transition is off ill-advised passes and unforced errors by the Friars. Bynum, Breed, and Durham need to be on their game and protect the ball.
- Ensure game is played in half court set – St. John’s and Mike Anderson want this game to be a run and gun style. Providence, even if they build up a lead, cannot fall into this trap and make it a glorified AAU game. Cooley must learn from past defeats to Anderson and implore his team to play at a slow, half court pace. If they can do this, I like the odds of the Friars in this one.
- Don’t settle for perimeter shots – Providence has the size in this one. Horchler and Watson should feast, and I’d anticipate Minaya to get his fair share of points off putbacks. Trying to manufacture points by settling for perimeter shots is playing right into the gameplan for St. John’s. Slow down the game and start the offense from the inside out. I think this will be a bounce-back game for Horchler and Watson, and they will combine for 40+ points.
BOC: Getting back home solves a lot of problems. PC plays a much more balanced game and takes care of this one 73 – 69.
Crier: After giving up 88 points to Marquette the last team you want to see is the St. John’s Red Storm. They truly have a high octane offense led by Champagnie and Posh Alexander. Dylan Adade-Disu is also coming along in his sophomore season. The good news is they aren’t great defensively and Providence can take advantage. Look for Nate Watson to have a monster game in this one (20+ points) and the Friars get back to their winning ways 77-73.