by Josh Adams
(2) Marquette vs (7) St. John’s
You have to be clinically dead not to anticipate this match-up. Shamorie Ponds vs Markus Howard. What more do you need? OK, let’s talk about Marquette’s Theo John. The guy is pretty damn intimidating in the middle and he’s not going to let one of St. John’s slashing players (Ponds, LJ Figueroa, Justin Simon) get to the rim without a serious bump to the head. The problem with John is he gets into foul trouble early and often. If they have a referee crew that has a lenient whistle, John can feast. If not, he will be as much a spectator to this game as you are my dear reader.
Speaking of defense, let’s talk Justin Simon from St. John’s. He turned Max Strus’s shot from wine back to water last night in the Red Storm’s win over DePaul. With most Marquette opponents it’s sort of a pick your poison on defense. You double Howard, well Sam Hauser will kill you from the three point arc. St. John’s has speed and length in Simon and LJ Figueroa to make Marquette’s shooters look human.
I saw the Shamorie Ponds locked in look last night and that’s trouble for the rest of the conference. As tough as it is to beat a team three times, I just think St. John’s has the formula to beat them again. Red Storm advance to the Semifinals.
(6) Georgetown vs (3) Seton Hall
Ah, the Thursday nightcap. The crowd is about 15 beers in. The writers are scrambling for coffee and adjectives they haven’t used yet. It’s the perfect time for Patrick Ewing to come back to his old gym with his Hoyas team that overachieved in Ewing’s second year. A good Georgetown is good for the Big East and the Hoyas have a mix of talent that has gelled together quickly. Mac McClung has proven without a doubt he is more than a Facebook video mixtape and has got the most “Ooos” and “Ahhs” for a freshman since Allen Iverson arrived on the GU campus. Jesse Govan has made himself a pro prospect under Ewing, averaging 17.6 ppg. Basketball is fun again in DC and it’s one of the better stories in the nation.
Covering Seton Hall as often as I do makes me appreciate a good TV drama. It’s always entertaining, there’s usually a plot twist or two along the way and sometimes a surprise ending no one sees coming. It’s not, “Blue Bloods”, it’s “Pirate Blue”. The star of the show this season is Myles Powell. The guard from Trenton will go down as one of the greats in Seton Hall history. He has put the Pirates on his back in a “supposedly” rebuilding year after losing four starters to graduation. Powell’s heroics have given the Pirates wins over Kentucky, Maryland, Villanova and Marquette.
Much like any good drama, the supporting cast has been the backbone to Powell’s star turn. Quincy McKnight has played excellent defense as a transfer from Sacred Heart, Sandro Mamukelashvili learned at the feet of Angel Delgado and is starting to become a double-double machine like his mentor and role players like Jared Rhoden and Romeo Gill have given the Pirates nice minutes off the bench. Kevin Willard (Coach of the Year, in my opinion) has been masterful in guiding the team this season and finishing strong with wins over Marquette and Villanova.
This one is all about who has the best player on the floor. That player is Myles Powell and I can see Seton Hall winning by 10.
Enjoy the games! Take an Uber if you’ve had more than a few tallboys at the Garden.
PHOTO: Mac McClung/guhoyas.com