The next school in my "Five Questions" series is Notre Dame's next Big East Conference opponent, St. John's. My fellow "Biggest Fan of the Big East" contestant Mike Gambardella, St. John's alum and blogger from Not The Common Fan, has agreed to stop by and answer my Five Questions.
What team are you most looking forward to playing in Big East play?
The Georgetown - St. John's games are always great just because of the history between the two schools, especially in the 80's with John Thompson II and Lou Carnesecca, but I have to go with Syracuse this season. The Orange is one of the best teams in the country and probably play better defense that anyone.
What is the biggest improvement St. John's has made this year from last year?
This is a tough question as St. John's now has no players on the team now that played last year, but you can easily say it is the team's resolve. The Red Storm has just six scholarship players, all newcomers, and start five freshman ("The Fresh Five"). Even though the Johnnies are the youngest team in the NCAA and have played all but four games with head coach Steve Lavin, who is recovering from October prostate cancer surgery.
Who is your favorite player on the team?
Tempted to go with God'sgift Achiuwa (yes that is his given name), but I have to choose Moe Harkless. The silky-smooth freshman has played every position for the Red Storm this season and should challenge for conference and national Rookie of the Year honors.
What quiet player will become a standout player before the year is over?
I think question has an obvious answer... Kevin Jones. The West Virginia forward was often overshadowed by Da'Sean Butler, but now he is leading the BIG EAST in scoring and rebounding in his final season and will by the key for the Mountaineers in the conference and NCAA tourney.
What is the best part about playing in the Big East?
The level of competition. There are no "gimmies" in the BIG EAST. Every game brings a certain level of drama and more often than not, you can turn on any league game late in the second half and find an entertaining and hard-fought battle.
[bonus] What is your prediction for the score of the Notre Dame - St. John's game?
After beating UCLA at the Garden and topping DePaul on senior day at Carnesseca, look for the young Red Storm to continue their roll, upsetting the No. 18 Fighting Irish, 67-66.
A big thanks to Mike for stopping by and answering my Five Questions. Please stop by his blog, Not The Common Fan, and show him some Big East Conference love!
Cheers ... and GO IRISH! Let's make it TEN in a row!
And but of course ... while I've got you here ... can I make another shameless plug for votes. Please go to my profile, vote, and vote often!!
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