The St. John’s Red Storm are the talk of the Big East. Winners of six straight, including victories over UConn, Villanova, Marquette and most recently Providence. They have also been the talk of the betting community, covering the spread in eight straight games. The Red Storm are a hurricane, moving fast and causing devastation on the offensive end. They are the 12th fastest team in the nation according to Kenpom and they are very efficient, ranking 41st in the nation in offensive efficiency. Their offensive is highlighted by super freshman guard Posh Alexander, he leads the team in assists with 4.4 a game. He has also picked up his scoring output over the last five games, averaging 17.4 ppg. Alexander’s runningmate and the team’s leading scoring Julain Champagnie (18.6 ppg), is a matchup nightmare for any team in the Big East. Champagnie is 6’8” and shoots 43% from three.
The Butler Bulldogs have had a rough season. They lost guard Aaron Thompson early in the season, which set them back to start the season. Even with Thompson the Butler offense seems lost. As a team they only average 63 ppg (331st in the nation). The Bulldogs ended a three game losing streak on Saturday when they took down Depaul at home. Butler cannot find consistent points from anywhere, they are horrible in the paint and even worse from the free throw line. Jaire Bolden leads Butler in scoring with 12.1 ppg, he is coming off of his worst game of the season, scoring just 3 points in their win over Depaul. In order to keep up with the fast paced Red Storm, Bolden will have to be better.
The Bulldogs at home in the past would have been an easy cover spot, but this team is having problems on the offensive end that is hard to ignore. For Butler to win they will have to slow the pace of the game. They also have to defend the three, something they have not done well all season. Butler gives up 37% shooting from deep, that is a strength for St. Johns who shoots the ball at 36% (71st in the nation). These two teams met once this year with St. John’s taking the victory at home 69-57. The Bulldogs were able to play their pace in that game but turned the ball over 16 times. The game plan for St. Johns will be simple, move fast and force Butler to score. If you grab a lead early on the Bulldogs they do not have the firepower to come back. Take the Red Storm.
Play of the day: St. John’s ML