St. John's at Butler game preview

Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

Finally it has come.

St. John's has finally got their first Big East win on Thursday night when metropolitan rival Seton Hall came to Queens. However, the Red Storm made this contest very interesting when they blew a 17 point lead in the second half, going cold and giving the Hall a chance to win the game.

A near disaster play by Sir`Dominic Pointer was salvaged by a very heads up play by Orlando Sanchez, knocking the ball out of bounds over the end line, to make the Pirates' final possession more difficult which ultimately led to the victory.

Now it is time to build a little consistency with back-to-back wins, one being in conference and one out. Fourth year head coach Steve Lavin stated in his post game press conference that his team isn't the only one to go "through a little funk."

He went on to say teams like Oregon and Ohio State and others, "in college basketball as a whole... go through that."

Lavin does bring up a good point - basketball teams have lulls and swells - there but those teams are still ranked and have quality wins, which St. John's can't say.

Scouting Butler

Next on the slate will be one of the toughest college basketball environments in the nation - Hinkle Fieldhouse against Butler (11-8, 1-6).

Unfortunately, for first year head coach Brandon Miller, Butler's top scorer and rebounder from last year, Roosevelt Jones, is out for the 2013-2014 season. Jones broke multiple ligaments in his wrist trying to break his fall in an exhibition game in Australia back in the summer.

That injury has put pressure on senior forward Khyle Marshall. Although he is relatively undersized as a big man, (listed at 6'6") Marshall is very good at finishing at the rim and is an important piece in the paint for the Bulldogs.

St. John's also needs to watch out for the third leading scorer in the Big East, Kellen Dunham. The sophomore wing has scored in double-figures in 12 of his last 13 games and in 16 total contests this season. He's posted seven of his top eight career scoring performances in Butler's last 15 games. His main weapon is the three-pointer; he shoots 38% from outside the arc.

Game Notes

Butler has played ten games decided five points or less. They are 5-5 in those games.

St. John's is playing at Butler for the second time in the two schools' history - they met in 1958, with ST. John's winning at Madison Square garden

Butler and St. John's are at the bottom of the Big East rankings in terms of rebounding defense in conference play. Butler is ninth in the percentage of offensive rebounds given up and St. John's is tenth.

Butler's coaching staff will be wearing sneakers in the Coaches vs. Cancer Suits and Sneakers Awareness Weekend. Will Lavin and his staff break out the sneakers? The sneakers did some magical things in 2010-11...

Prediction

Although Butler is in a down year, a lot of college basketball has to do with environment. Butler has one of the best in the country and play very well in Indianapolis. It would be great for St. John's to start on a roll and show their true ability... but... Butler 72 St. John's 70

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