St. John's basketball changed offensive philosophy entering Big East Tournament

Rick Pitino had another trick up his sleeve for the Red Storm
Mar 14, 2024; New York City, NY, USA;  St. John's Red Storm head coach Rick Pitino reacts against
Mar 14, 2024; New York City, NY, USA; St. John's Red Storm head coach Rick Pitino reacts against / Robert Deutsch-USA TODAY Sports

There will be no stone left unturned when Rick Pitino is trying to prepare for a St. John's basketball game.

He explained after the Red Storm punched its ticket to the Big East Tournament Semifinals, the first in program history since 2000, that the Johnnies changed its entire offensive game plan entering its matchup against Seton Hall.

"This time of year some teams get really, really tight and they rely on their half court basketball," Pitino explained, but he instructed his team to do the opposite.

"I want you go out and try and score 100 points tonight."

St. John's nearly followed the Hall of Famer's instructions to perfection, scoring 91 points in the 19-point victory.

"I want you to play race horse basketball, get a high number of assists, and get in the gaps and play them."

St. John's looked like thoroughbreds throughout points of its victory, racking up 19 fast break points and forcing 14 turnovers from Seton Hall and turning it into 22 points. It was played as close to the script Pitino that was hoping for.

The Johnnies also had 14 assists on 32 made field goals.

"We've have to play a different style come March. It has to be race horse basketball, because I feel like that takes the pressure off teams," he continued.

It's ironic because Pitino mentioned his affiliation with horse racing during his press conference on Tuesday prior to the Big East Tournament, saying he has no better option to do with his life than coaching because he's bad at golf and the race horses he owns are slow.

Rick Pitino's ponies might be slow, but his players on St. John's were anything but slow on Thursday afternoon at Madison Square Garden.

However, in order to have a shot at defeating top-seeded UConn, who has as much firepower in its stable than anyone in the country, on Friday night (5:30 p.m. ET, FOX), Pitino might need to see if Triple Crown winners Secretariat, American Pharoah, or Justify can lend a helping hand to the Red Storm.