Word around the world-wide-interwebs has Bucknell either being sneaky good or in a rebuild mode. The St. John’s Red Storm, on the other hand, are supposedly a program on the rise. So, what will happen when the reportedly immovable but movable object meets an apparent force to be reckoned with? Basketball, that’s what!
St. John’s Red Storm: 1-1 (0-0 Big East Conference)
Bucknell Bison: 2-1 (o-0 Patriot League)
What Had Happened Was
St. John’s has certainly “bounced” back since looking like a team without defense against Wisconsin. Granted, that was against a Wagner team that is, you know, not as good as Bucknell. But still, it is good that the Red Storm were able to get a win before playing some better teams. It is also all types of swell that they actually showed the ability to play defense against Wagner — I mean, after making Wisconsin look like someone playing NBA Live 1998 on Rookie Mode.
Bucknell is NOT in rebuilding mode. Dave Paulsen has the Bison as perennial Patriot League contenders at this point. They are no longer a program that needs to be rebuilt. Even with that, though, they aren’t as good a team as they were last season. Sans Mike Muscala will do that to anyone. Regardless, Bucknell has already beaten Penn State and gave Stanford a run for the money — which means they are a tough out for St. John’s.
How to Watch
8:30 pm Eastern Standard Time
Fox Sports 1
Be there or be a circle
What to Watch For
Depends on who you are rooting for, but I can only assume you are a Red Storm fan since you have come to Storm The Paint. If that is the case, well, keep an eye on the usual suspects. Expect D’Angelo Harrison to score in bunches, JaKarr Sampson to be all kinds of reckless but end up with a good box-score and — most importantly — keep an eye on the development of some of the new faces.
Mainly, keep an eye out for the — so far — disappointing Rysheed Jordan. Heavily hyped, Jordan hasn’t exactly set the world on fire since the regular season began. This can certainly be attributed to being a young, possibly star gazing freshman, but Jordan needs to be more productive if the Johnnies are going to be that sleeper Big East team that many were predicting.
It is also worth looking out to see how Steve Lavin adjusts his lineup. Will Chris Obekpa see more than a dozen minutes on the floor? What is tonight’s starting lineup? How much wood could a woodchuck chuck if a woodchuck could chuck wood? You know, stuff like that.
As for Bucknell, guard play will be a huge factor in their possible success. Cameron Ayers (15.3 ppg, 2.7 assists) and Steven Kaspar ( 14.3 ppg, 5.0 rpg, 5.7 apg) are off to a good start for the Bison. It’s going to be up to Harrison, Jordan and other backcourt Johnnies to stop these two players. It’s not going to be an easy task, however, as both of them have experience and are legit, quality players.
Harrison, who I have applauded for his improved defense, can go a long way in showing others how much better he is at stopping others if he were to shut — or at least contain — either of them down. Don’t be surprised, though, when Lavin rotates multiple guys on Kaspar and Ayers to keep his guys fresh and players like Harrison productive on offense.
Totally Unnecessary Prediction
St. John’s 78, Bucknell 70