St. John's Red Storm (10-3, 0-1) vs. No. 23 Seton Hall Pirates (11-2, 1-0)
WHERE: Prudential Center, Newark, N.J.
WHEN: 5 p.m.
TV: FS1 (Brian Custer and Vin Parise)
LINE: SHU -10
ALL-TIME: 58-39 SJU (Seton Hall is 25-17 at home)
Coming off a come-from-behind victory which saw them erase a 13-point deficit, the 23rd-ranked Seton Hall Pirates will look to improve to 2-0 in Big East play on Sunday when they take on a banged up St. John's Red Storm squad.
The Red Storm feared they would be without star sophomore guard Shamorie Ponds after he sustained a knee injury in Thursday's loss to Providence, but all signs point to Ponds suiting up.
On the other hand, Marcus LoVett, who hasn’t played since November 26 due to a knee injury, is listed as doubtful and St. John's will likely be without the guard for the seventh straight game.
Those injuries could cost St. John's in a building they have not won in since 2014. They still, however, have four double-digit scorers to roll out onto the Prudential Center floor. Along with Ponds' 20.1 PPG, transfers Marvin Clark II (11.0 PPG) and Justin Simon (10.2 PPG) have become major contributors for the Red Storm. Big man Tariq Owens is a rim protector down low as well, registering 3.6 blocks per game.
However, that hasn’t stopped Seton Hall's dominance in the paint before. In last season’s matchup in Newark, the Pirates put up 44 points in the paint, and Angel Delgado had a 21-point 20-rebound performance. The Pirates would outrebound St. John's that day 45-32.
For the Pirates, they will have one less man to stop defensively. They contained Ponds in last year's matchup in Newark, as he only dropped nine points in the Pirates' 86-73 win. If they can do similarly on Sunday, the Pirates should be able to grab a win.
Offensively, look for the Pirates to do what they always do. Feed it inside to Angel Delgado, who has been playing like an All-American lately, or let wing players Desi Rodriguez and Myles Powell do their thing. They've been the three best players for the Pirates this season, and Sunday should be yet another strong performance from each.
St. John’s is banged up and coming off a 22-point loss, while the Pirates are healthy and riding momentum off the win over Creighton. This could be a close game through the first half, but I expect Seton Hall to pull away in the second half and improve to 2-0 in Big East play.