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Friends with Bennies: Rumble in the Garden and the St. John's Red Storm

We sit down with Norman from Rumble in the Garden to talk about tonight's matchup with the Red Storm.

Chris Chambers

Welcome back to Friends With Bennies, where we sit down with opposing bloggers to talk about their team. Today it's Norman aka Pico from SBN's St. John's blog Rumble in the Garden.

TheUConnBlog: How's the Steve Lavin era going now? What's his health status?

Rumble in the Garden: Lavin is good, healthy, verbose, no ill effects from the cancer treatments, so far!

TUB: There are a lot of new faces on the SJU roster, who should UConn fans keep their eye on?

RITG: Critical to the Red Storm is D`Angelo Harrison, averaging just under 19 points per game, and Jakarr Sampson, the likely rookie of the year (we think) averaging 14 points per game on the season. The two combine to take almost half of the team's shots when they're on the floor.

Sir`Dominic Pointer, though, is the guy who fills in so many of the gaps. He's gaining confidence, can power the break, force turnovers, and even shoot a bit now. Right now, he's looking like a real "most improved player" - even within this season.

Oh, and that Chris Obekpa fellow who will take Ryan Boatright's comments about not being afraid of a shotblocker to heart. Actually, he seems like a pretty nice guy. Obekpa might stick to his game, bother shots in the paint, and not step out just to send one of Boatright's shots back to his people in Illinois.

What is St. John's biggest weakness? Where should UConn be looking to attack?

RITG: St. John's can't shoot. Moreover, they take questionable shots - long two-pointers. They won't shoot threes unless forced, and many of the scorers like to pull up for shots instead of going to the rim.

On defense, they can be great in transition or sloppy. They defend inside very well and hurry teams up. A squad that spaces well and moves without the ball can find openings if they're ready to aggressively take them.

How's the season going? Is it a success, a disappointment? What's the rest of the year looking like?

RITG: The season is... about where I expected. I think the Johnnies will struggle against the elite of the league, and I think that should be expected, given the lack of bulk inside and the developing roster. There are a few games the team could have won, and likely should have won, but generally, this seems about right. I'm expecting a fun trip to the NIT with the promise of playing in Madison Square Garden in March. Man, UConn would love that, wouldn't they...
TUB: Do you have a prediction for tonight's game?

RITG: It's gonna be tight like the 4 train at 5.05 pm.