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February 20, 2008
The Golden Eagles travel to New York tonight to face St. John's. Although the Johnnies are in the midst of a disappointing season, any road game in the Big East is dangerous.
We sat down with RedStormReport.com to get an inside look.
Changes since last meeting.
St. John's lost a significant amount of offensive production from the team that gave MU a scare in the Big East tournament. Leading scorer Lamont Hamilton is gone to graduation. Third leading scorer Avery Patterson tranferred due to personality clashes with head coach Norm Roberts. Inexperience has been a major issue for the Johnnies this season. They have been prone to large scoring droughts due to five freshman and a sophomore in their main rotation.
Who is the player to look out for?
6'8", 220-pound Justin Burrell is making a case for the All-Big East rookie team averaging 11.7 pts and 6.6 rebs. The home grown product out of the Bronx gives the Red Storm a powerful pressence in the post while being able to step out and knock down medium range jumpers. He will be a tough matchup for MU because of his versatility. Is Anthony Mason Jr. healthy?
Is Anthony Mason Jr. healthy?
The team's leading scorer has been brought along slowly while recovering from an ankle injury suffered Feb 2 at South Florida. In his return to the floor Mason Jr. scored 12 pts and grabbed 9 rebs in Saturday's loss to Villanova. Though not 100%, he will start against MU tonight.
Is Norm Roberts on the hot seat?
After a 7-12 start and 1-7 in the Big East there were some rumblings that head coach Norm Roberts' job may be in jeopardy. Three consecutive wins over South Florida, Rutgers and Providence seemed to have quieted the critics. However, this is New York and everyone wants to win now. Red Storm fans' patience is being tested with the development of a young team.
Who will matchup with MU's explosive backcourt?
The combination of Eugene Lawrence, D.J. Kennedy and Malik Boothe will be responsible for containing James, McNeal and Matthews. Kennedy and Boothe, both freshman, will have their hands fulls with MU's talented and experienced backcourt. Lawrence, averaging 8.1 pts and 3.5 ast, is capable of putting up big numbers.
Golden Eagles - 74
Johnnies - 68