Monday, March 9, 2015

St. John's (5) vs. Providence (4): BIG EAST Tournament Preview

Wednesday afternoon’s match-up between the St. John’s Red Storm and Providence Friars will be a defensive showcase with Sir’Dominic Pointer and Kris Dunn on respective sides.
Dunn and Pointer were named winners of the BIG East Defensive Player of the Year award Monday by coaches within the conference.
After Dunn became the second Friar to win the Defensive Player Of The Year award, Providence coach Ed Cooley talked about the ability of his star overcoming injuries to play this season in Monday’s BIG EAST Teleconference.
“Kris is in a good space emotionally,” Cooley said. “And credit to our doctors and trainers for keeping him in a good place." 
SJU coach Steve Lavin emphasized Pointer’s special instincts on the floor, calling his traits the best he’s seen in his coaching career.
"I've never seen a player as unique as Dom in the way he is able to influence the game,” Lavin said.
Both teams have a lot to play for as NCAA Tournament seedings are up for grabs and Providence and St. John’s meeting for the third time this season.
St. John’s took both regular season meetings against Providence— an 83-70 road win at the Dunkin Donuts Center on Jan. 14 and a 75-66 victory at Madison Square Garden on Jan. 31.
Cooley knows the Friars are motivated to pick up a win against the Red Storm, but knows it will come down to fundamentals.
"I think urgency and toughness is the key, but it is going to come down to execution and who wants it more,” Cooley said.
Phil Greene IV is another player to watch for the Red Storm as he was snubbed from making it onto any of the BIG EAST postseason teams.
Lavin came to the defense of Greene as he realizes the importance of having Greene IV on the floor.
“Naturally like every coach and parent, I would have loved to see Phil Greene get recognized,” Lavin said. “Phil’s teammates know how critical his success is.”
One of the special features of the conference tournament is the opportunity for each team to hit the reset button and Lavin knows anything can happen in this format.
“The entire conference is 0-0 in league play,” Lavin said. “Independent of how well you did, everyone gets the same shot come championship week and we're looking forward to facing Providence.”

No. 5-seeded St. John’s (21-10 overall, 10-8 BIG EAST) vs. No. 4-seeded Providence (21-10 overall, 11-7 BIG EAST)
Where: Madison Square Garden, New York, N.Y.
Tip-off: Wednesday 1:30 p.m. CT
TV/Online: Fox Sports 1/Fox Sports Go
Commentators: Justin Kutcher (play-by-play), Donny Marshall (analyst) and Molly McGrath (sideline)

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