Marquette looks to get back to winning tonight against St. John's (6pm Central, ESPNU). It's Al's Night, as Marquette celebrates the career of Al McGuire. It's not a coincidence that the game is against St. John's, as Al played for the Redmen from 1948-1951. St. John's comes in with a record of 8-7 overall and 2-2 in Big East play. Their wins are at home against Providence and at Cincinnati with the losses coming at Connecticut and home against Louisville. St. John's comes in with a KenPom ranking of 146, barely edging out DePaul (158) for the worst ranking in the conference.
With a hat tip to StatSheet.com, we go looking at some numbers...
1) Malik Stith is their leading returning scorer. If you find yourself thinking back to last year's St. John's game (and I don't recommend you do so without a doctor's supervision) and don't remember Stith at all, don't be surprised. Stith averaged 3.3 points per game last year and is right back on that pace this year. St. John's has SEVEN freshmen on their roster right now and junior God'sgift Achiuwa is a junior college transfer. The only other returning player other than Stith is Jamal White, who played all of 2 minutes last year and has only gotten into 1 game this year.
2) St. John's only plays 7 guys. One of them, Amir Garrett, didn't play a single minute until after Nurideen Lindsey transferred at the end of the first semester. Three of them, Achiuwa, Moe Harkless and leading scorer D'Angelo Harrison average over 33 minutes a game. I suspect the heavy load being dumped on just a handful of players may have something to do St. John's middle of the pack efficiency both on offense (99.9, 207th in the country, 16th in the Big East) and defense (98.5, 162nd nationally, 13th Big East).
3) The only thing they do well is not allow free throws. The Red Storm's Free Throw Rate of 23.7 is 7th best in the country. Most every other stat is middle of the road at best, but there are some glaring inadequacies. They let opponents get to a large percentage of offensive rebounds (36.7%, 314th) and they get their shots blocked 9.2% of the time, which is 336th in the country. They're a complete disaster shooting threes (25.5%, 343rd) but luckily for Steve Lavin's stress levels, they don't shoot a lot of them either (231, 285th).