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South Florida (10-15) at St. John's (15-10)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Wednesday, February 20, 7 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Carnesecca Arena (5,602) -- Queens, New York. Television: SNY, Big East Network. Home Record: USF 8-8, St. John's 11-3. Away Record: USF 2-7, St. John's 4-5. Neutral Record: USF 0-0, St. John's 0-2. Conference Record: USF 1-12, St. John's 7-6. Series Record: St. John's leads, 6-2.
GAMES NOTES: Reeling after one of its toughest stretches of the season, the St. John's Red Storm will try to get back against the South Florida Bulls in a Big East Conference clash at Carnesecca Arena on Wednesday night.
At this point South Florida is just playing the role of spoiler as there is little hope that the Bulls will be able to salvage the season. The Bulls are just 10-15 overall including a 1-12 mark against the Big East that has them in last place in the league standings. The Bulls were routed 59-41 by then No. 12 Louisville on Sunday in their eighth straight loss.
St. John's has faced down three ranked foes in its last four games and came out with losses in all three contests. The most recent setback for the Red Storm also came against Louisville when it was handed a 72-58 setback last Thursday. St. John's is still hanging onto NCAA Tournament hopes at 15-10 overall and 7-6 in league play.
In the brief all-time series between these teams, St. John's has earned a 5-1 advantage. However South Florida did earn its first win since 1995 against the Red Storm during last season's lone meeting.
Another miserable offensive showing doomed South Florida against Louisville. The Bulls managed to record just 13 field goals on 24.5 percent shooting in the contest, while turning the ball over 16 times. Jawanza Poland came off the bench to score 11 points as the only player in double figures.
It isn't difficult to figure out what has kept South Florida down this season. The Bulls are the worst offensive team in the conference by far ranking last in the Big East in points (59.2 pg), assists (11.4 pf) and field-goal percentage (.389). The Bulls have also been the worst team on the boards (32.4 pg). Victor Rudd (11.2 ppg 6.2 rpg) and Toarlyn Fitzpatrick (10.4 ppg, 5.2 rpg) are the only double-figure scorers on the roster though each is shooting below 40 percent from the field. Poland (9.3 ppg) has been a solid reserve, while Anthony Collins (8.9 ppg, 6.4 apg) has done his best to keep everyone involved.
The Red Storm also had trouble on the offensive end against Louisville. St. John's shot just 37.1 percent from the floor and although it limited the Cardinals to an identical field-goal percentage, a 23-5 deficit from the free- throw line kept the Red Storm out of it.
On the campaign the Red Storm has fought to about even in terms of scoring margin as it puts in 67.6 points per game, while allowing just 67.0. The Red Storm has managed to keep foes to just 39.4 percent shooting thanks in part to its commitment to protecting the rim. Led by Chris Obekpa (4.2 bpg) the Red Storm has blocked the most shots in the country (7.6 bpg). On offense the Red Storm rely too heavily on one-one-one plays as it is better than only South Florida in the Big East in assists (12.5 pg). D'Angelo Harrison (18.3 ppg) is the main culprit in that regard as although he is scoring in bunches he assists on just 2.2 field goals per game. JaKarr Sampson (14.5 ppg, 6.7 rpg) is another solid scorer for the Red Storm, who rely heavily on a seven-man rotation that may be short in this contest with Jamal Branch questionable with a sprained left MCL.
Even though Branch may be on the sidelines the Red Storm has the type of athleticism to give the Bulls fits.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: St. John's 67, South Florida 59
02/20 11:02:10 ET
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