To open up the Big East, the tough road swing continues for St. John's as they will travel through the snow to the nation's capital to take on the Georgetown Hoyas in the schools' 100th matchup.
Likely Chris Mullin or Patrick Ewing won't be there lacing them up, so count out the expectation for a nice reunion between these rivals.
As much as I would like to see fourth year head coach Steve Lavin go to a sweater that might not happen either.
Will John Thompson III go with a no neck tie?
These games always have "interesting" story-lines, whether it is on the court, off the court, or... a wardrobe.
Scouting St. John's
St. John's is 9-4 and has been preaching improvement and staying on the "right path" - so the start of the season that some feel is less explosive than it should have been could be a start that should have been expected.
However, it is Big East play and the time for excuses are out the window.
"We definitely don’t want to drop two straight, especially in the league. It’s a tough league, and we definitely don’t want to lose to Georgetown," junior do-it-all wing Sir`Dominic Pointer stated about the Hoya squad who has beaten St. John's in all four of his contests against them.
St. John's had issues early in the year with coming out sluggish in the first half. Yet in the Big East opener, they didn't show up in the second half, letting Xavier start out on a 13-0 run which punched them in the jaw.
"We started off fast, but we learned we have to sustain it because we came out slow in the second half. We have to be consistent throughout the whole game," he added. "We have to figure it out because it is Big East play, and we can't afford to lose games we should win."
That is a nice quote, but at the end of the day consistency is a MUST, and the margin for error for a team that has NCAA aspirations is dwindling.
The rival Hoyas, are 9-3 and opened Big East play with a close win at home against DePaul.
The expectations that have come with the name Georgetown and their basketball program are so rich that a lot of people around Hoya Nation are disappointed with their season so far.
However, Georgetown did have a very tough out of conference schedule, which included opening against #19 Oregon and playing AT #18 Kansas (who were ranked in the top-5 early in the season) which seems like a nearly impossible feat. They have a nice win against a disappointing, yet ranked, VCU and a slip-up against Northeastern. Let's face it, this team will be playing in March, don't worry.
Hoya fans should be thankful you have Markel Starks. The senior point guard from Maryland has been everything and then some for Georgetown. I really couldn't put it any better than Casual Hoya did, "...our fate lies in his hands and his hands completely. Starks is the engine of this Hoyas team and if he is struggling, the team will sputter."
X's & O's
The Johnnies played their matchup zone that led to open shooters all game (Xavier missed WIDE open shots in first half) and then they got hot from the field, patiently working gaps in the St. John's zone.
Georgetown had a similar situation yet they made the adjustment. They started out struggling with DePaul's guards and went into their 1-2-2 zone press. The press sparked a 14-2 run ending the first half, which was the turning point of the game.
Look to see if this turns out to be a chess match between the coaches. Will John Thompson III make the right moves, or will Steve Lavin have the winning adjustments?
Or at the end of the day, will talent - the Hoya's big men, St. John's athleticism - prevail?
Prediction: Georgetown 72 St. John's 63
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