Tonight the South Florida Bulls are in Queens to take on the St. John's Red Storm. St. John's is young, athletic, and improving greatly under Steve Lavin, and after taking a step back last season, they are back in the NCAA Tournament discussion with a gaggle of talented underclassmen. The Johnnies need a win to stay on the NCAA bubble, while the Bulls just need a win to get out of last place in the Big East.
Let's take a look at tonight's matchup:
The Four Factors indicate that this isn't a bad matchup for USF, as long as their effort stays up for 40 minutes. The Johnnies are almost as bad a shooting team as the Bulls (276th in effective FG%), not great rebounders, and poor at the free throw line. But they protect the rim extremely well. Freshman Chris Obekpa is second in the country with an outrageous 109 blocked shots, and teams only shoot 42.8% against them from two-point range. If that forces the Bulls into outside shooting, the game is already halfway lost.
D'Angelo Harrison gets his points as a volume shooter, so forcing him into bad shots should be USF's focus tonight. They'll also need to try and corral the running game of the Johnnies, who play at a much higher tempo than the Bulls are comfortable with.