#9 UCONN vs St. John's: Preview & Prediction

December 31st, 2011

ST. JOHN’S (7-5) AT NO. 9 CONNECTICUT (11-1)

 

Time/TV: Noon/FSN

 

Location: XL Center

 

Line: UConn -14.5

 

St. John’s Players to Watch: F Moe Harkless, Fr. (15.7 ppg, 8.5 rpg); G D’Angelo Harrison, Fr. (15.1 ppg, 3.8 rpg); F/C God’sgift Achiuwa, Jr. (12 ppg, 7.3 rpg). Harkless and Harrison – the Red Storm’s top two scorers – had breakout games in Tuesday’s blowout win over Providence.

 

Connecticut Players to Watch: G Jeremy Lamb, So. (19.3 ppg, 51.6% FG); PG Shabazz Napier, So. (14.5 ppg, 6.4 apg); PG Ryan Boatright, Fr. (12.5 ppg, 3.5 apg). Lamb is not only a great scorer, he seems to have inherited Kemba Walker’s penchant for hitting big shots. Napier and Boatright have to be the best pair of point guards in the country.

 

Storylines: Both teams opened Big East play with a victory. Harkless, Harrison, Boatright and UConn center Andre Drummond make up four of the top 15-25 freshmen in all of college basketball.

 

Keys to Victory: the Red Storm’s offense was impressive in their win over Providence. Whether it was St. John’s efficiency or the Friars’ putrid defense, the Johnnies likely gained confidence from the performance. Their defense is another story.

 

The Bottom Line: The Huskies were less-than-impressive in a 60-57 road victory over South Florida, but their talent and depth should be too much for St. John’s.

 

The Pick: Connecticut 90, St. John’s 74.