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St. John’s Needs To Be Ready For Robert Morris In The NIT

by Edward Kim | Posted on Tuesday, March 18th, 2014

St. John’s season continues into March.  D’Angelo Harrison said it best.

“It’s disappointing of course to not be in the NCAA tournament, but we have to have short-term memory…we got the No. 1 seed so that we can play at home and we’re going to try and win out,” said Harrison. “It’s all home games for us so that’s a big advantage and we’re looking forward to it.”

Adam Hunger/Getty Images

Adam Hunger/Getty Images

Nothing about the season has gone the way the Johnnies wanted but with the 2014 NIT tournament about to begin all of that is in the past and the Red Storm need to worry about only what they can control if they want to go on a March winning streak.

Tuesday evening No. 1 seed St. John’s (20-12, 10-8) goes up against No. 8 seed Robert Morris (21-13, 14-2).  Last year Kentucky missed out on the NCAA tournament and came out flat and lost to a Robert Morris team that simply wanted to win far more than the Wildcats.  If St. John’s doesn’t want to suffer the same fate they will need to come out focused and ready to play.

Colonial leading scorer Karvel Anderson looks to add to his impressive senior season with a run in the NIT.  He is the leading scorer 19.1 PPG with an impressive .507 FG% and .453 3P% on a team that relies heavily on their three point shooting.  Anderson along with Lucky Jones account for a combined 33 points and 11 rebounds per game for a Robert Morris team that averages 72 PPG and 33 RPG.  Keeping both players in check for St. John’s will help thwart the Colonials bid for an upset.  For more on Karvel Anderson and his journey from being homeless to becoming the NEC player of the year click here.

The winning recipe for the St. John’s Red Storm is simple play harder and hungrier than the Colonials.  The discrepancy in talent is undeniable as is the difference in the strength of schedules but if St. John’s doesn’t play their best basketball they will fall victim to No. 8 seed Robert Morris much like 2013 No. 1 seed Kentucky did one year ago.  St. John’s needs to get after loose balls, rebounds and out physical Robert Morris.

Perimeter defense will be a key for St. John’s.  The Colonials shoot 38% from three and about 30% of the total points per game come from three pointers.  Rysheed Jordan and Jakarr Sampson will need to use their length to get in the passing lanes and disrupt the Colonials rhythm offensively.  Chris Obekpa in the post along with Sir’Dominic Pointer and Phil Greene on the perimeter will need to play better than they did against Providence.  They will need to bring energy and toughness on defense and be viable scoring options on offense.

St. John’s has a lot to play for and if they play that way they will be going on to the second round to face the winner of No. 5 Belmont (24-9, 14-2) and No.4 Green Bay (24-6, 14-2).

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