The St. John’s Red Storm are on fire. Not literally, that would mean we would have to call emergency services, but in the way that puts them in a realistic position to make the NCAA Tournament.
The Johnnies have won six straight, nine out of their last 10, but it’s still not all sunshine and rainbows for the program.
Unfortunately for them, before their game against the Butler Bulldogs last evening, Steve Lavin announced that the nation’s premiere shot-blocker, Chris Obekpa, would be sidelined for the next 10-14 with an injury.
This is a huge loss for St. John’s. After already losing to Penn State and the horror show that is DePaul, they could ill-afford any slip-ups the rest of the way. They could also use a few more huge victories before the conference tournament starts. Like, you know, a win against Villanova on Saturday. Now, however, they will have to attempt to do so without O’Blockpa (I tried pending this nickname over a year ago, but haters man).
The rest of the Red Storm schedule are games they could, might and/or should even win. That doesn’t mean they are going to, though. Especially if Obekpa isn’t healthy. Even with St. John’s having talent hanging from every inch of their roster, no team in the nation could replace a defensive force like Obekpa. The timing of it, with Nova up next, makes it even worse.
Lavin’s team had no issue in destroying Butler last night without him, though. After a first-half that saw Butler very much in the game and even leading it in spurts, the Red Storm eventually ran Butler (who only dressed eight scholarship players) to the ground, winning 77-52.