In “win or bust” mode, the St. John’s Red Storm (14-8, 8-7) hopes to play a surprise free contest Saturday when they host the DePaul Blue Demons (3-10, 1-10).
Winners of eight of their last 10, St. John’s currently sits fourth in the Big East. After a disappointing loss to Butler, the Red Storm pulled off a quality win in their last game against Xavier. Although it doesn’t mean the same thing this season, they are also a much better team at home, boasting a 9-2 record in Queens.
DePaul, on the other hand, is the Big East’s bottom feeder. The last place Blue Demons have lost five-straight, with no signs of a turnaround in sight.
In the first game between these two teams, St. John’s took care of business, defeating DePaul 81-68. Vince Cole led the Red Storm in scoring with 18 points. Registering almost a third of their points, Charlier Moore posted 21 for the Blue Demons.
Offensively, St. John’s is one of the more efficient teams in the nation, averaging 112.5 points per 100 possessions. Their high-scoring is mainly due to the pace they play the game, running an up-tempo style offensive that does not hold onto the ball for long. They possess an eFG% of 51.6% and are an above-average team from behind the arc. Playing at a fast-pace typically results in frequent trips to the charity stripe. The Red Storm are a quality team in that regard, hitting 74.2% of their free-throws.
Statistically, DePaul should match up well against St. John’s offense. Although they are an overall poor team, they play a solid defensive game. The Blue Demons hold teams to 94.3 points per 100 possessions and make it challenging for opponents to convert from long range.
DePaul’s issues lie in their inability to keep up with anyone offensively. According to KenPom, they are ranked 243rd in the nation in terms of offensive efficiency. They struggle to make anything consistently and are prone to turning the ball over. It doesn’t help their cause that St. John’s plays a respectable brand of defense.
The Blue Demons may be able to hold St. John’s back a bit; however, it’s hard to imagine them being able to keep offensively. The Red Storm would need to have an off-night for them to really have a chance.
On top of it all, St. John’s holds all the momentum. Although their chances of making the NCAA tournament appear slim, enough hope remains to keep them fired up. In DePaul’s case, they are headed nowhere fast. Losing in this fashion deflates teams, especially at this juncture in the season.
The Blue Demons might do enough to hang on and make it interesting. Still, expect St. John’s to come away from this one victorious.
How to watch or stream
Time: 7:30 p.m ET
Streaming: FOX Sports Go