This is one of our late evening games of March Madness on Thursday of the 2011 NCAA Tournament (click here for the full Round of 64 schedule with additional previews of other games). It’ll air at 6:45 PM PT/9:45 PM ET on CBS and will have the fantastic pairing of Verne Lundquist and Bill Raftery (ONIONS!!!)
#6 St. John’s Red Storm
Dossier courtesy of Pomeroy: 47th best offense, 35th best defense, 143th fastest tempo (close to the middle of the pack). Middle of the pack offense (solid on two pointers, poor on three pointers) and fairly poor on defense, although 14th in the country in forcing turnovers. They are weak at getting to the free throw line and struggle in preventing rebounds at times.
St. John’s really struggles in three point defense and could face some trouble fro a Gonzaga squad that can hit the three. The biggest weakness though is the loss of D.J. Kennedy, who tore his ACL in the Big East tournament. Kennedy was their third leading scorer and their top rebounder.
#11 Gonzaga Bulldogs
Dossier courtesy of Pomeroy: 49th best offense, 29th best defense, upper third in the country in tempo. Great shooting offense (solid on threes, great on twos) and very solid defense (particularly against two pointers). They’re a great free throw shooting team and are generally quite effective on offense, but they can struggle with turnovers at times.
The biggest weakness with Gonzaga is defending the three. Of course St. John’s struggles with shooting the three so it might be a wash. Beyond that Gonzaga has been an overall surprisingly effective team in spite of their struggles at times this season
Prediction: When I first looked at the bracket I was set to go with the Red Storm in this game. However, upon further review Gonzaga might be a great buy right now. They’re 28th overall in Ken Pomeroy’s ratings with only Clemson and Belmont being further up with worse seeds. I actually think the Bulldogs could win this one with relative ease. Crazy things can happen in the tournament but now I’m thinking the Bulldogs are going to win.