St. John's vs Xavier - game thread is open!

Tonight, two teams are going to ball hard for a shot at the NCAA Tournament. - Frank Victores-USA TODAY Sports

Let's go BIG in this game thread, folks.

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Tuesday, February 25, 2014
When: 7:00 PM Eastern
Xavier Musketeers (18-9, 8-6 Big East) at St. John's Red Storm (18-10, 8-7 Big East)
Pomeroy Rank: St. John's: 29 | Xavier: 47
Madison Square Garden (Capacity: 19,979)
Where: New York, NY
TV: Fox Sports 1/ Fox Sports Go online
Announcers: Rich Ackerman + Tarik Turner
Radio: Bloomberg 1130
Favorite/ Odds: St. John's/ 6

Stjohns_medium

First, our condolences to Rysheed Jordan, who lost a close family relative to gun violence in Philadelphia on Saturday. He's expected to play; we won't get all Darren Rovellian and consider how the loss will affect his game. That's a terrible narrative, life is short - and for some, often fraught with danger.

As for the game, it's got that big-game feel. Even Senator Chuck Schumer is on board.

Do not let Chuck down. Like Young Jeezy said in the timeless hit "And Then What" (video link Semi-SFW, a bit much skin), "I can't fail, I got the whole city behind me."

A big factor tonight will be St. John's ability to restrict the Musketeers from getting shot opportunities. Johnnies need to force turnovers, don't allow the Musketeers second shots at the rim. The Johnnies struggled to get shots to fall inside the arc in the first game, shooting under 50% against the height of Xavier and the pack line defense, which aims to keep opponents out of the paint.

Three-pointers will be available. But the Johnnies have to get some shots to fall inside the arc. Will those shots come from transition play? Better half-court offense?

St. John's needs this game.

Xavier needs this game.

And chances are, this is going to rival an MMA cage match for intensity. Strap in, get your water and your popcorn, and let's talk about the action.

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