After winning four of their last five games - which could have been five of five if it weren't for a great performance by Doug McDermott - St. John's (13-9, 3-6) finds themselves right in the middle of the Big East with an opportunity to move up.
The only negative with that is, everybody else also has the opportunity in the close quarters of the Big East standings as second half conference play began this week.
The first stop for head coach Steve Lavin and his team will be up north in Rhode Island to face Providence (16-6, 6-3). The game is slated for a 7 PM start and will be called by Jason Benetti and St. John's alum Tarik Turner on Fox Sports 1.
Scouting St. John's
If you look at your calendar you will see that it is indeed the month of February. And if you have been following St. John's you will know that Lavin has been preaching that this team will be hitting its high point - "peaking" - at this time.
If their game on Super Saturday at MSG against Marquette is any example of what is to come, you may want to give Steve Lavin credit for knowing the future. It's no secret that fans of St. John's (including myself) grew tired of Lavin using the slow growth and development of his team as an excuse for a loss and also bringing in the point of them being too far out of the NCAA Tournament picture to make a run.
On Saturday, St. John's looked like a very complete team that dominated a disappointing Marquette team. Junior D`Angelo Harrison set a personal career high in three pointers with six finishing with 29 points which got him named to the Big East honor roll.
"We’re currently on a four-out-of-five game winning streak and we want to keep it going. It’s good to be recognized but I couldn’t do it without my teammates," said Harrison on Monday.
The Friars being one of the most surprising teams in the conference along with Villanova is in a great position to keep up with the top of the Big East. After opening the Big East with two losses including a 30 point loss at Villanova, head coach Ed Cooley has done a great job for the whole month of January.
Providence goes into this contest at 7-1 and are looking like a team with a chance to be considered for the NCAA Tournament.
The last time these two teams met the game went into double overtime where St. John's were free throws away from clinching their first Big East win. But Providence did a great job of trapping Max Hooper and getting a tie-up fon an inbounds pass, earning possession.
The second leading scorer in the Big East, Bryce Cotton, didn't give up the opportunity, he hit a floater with 9.8 seconds left. Cotton played 50 minutes in that contest and nearly put up a triple double.
This game will be close like the game back at Carnesecca Arena. I think St. John's confidence is very high right now who realizes that if they want a future in March, "February is the month" like Lavin says, they need to do it now. St. John's 76 Providence 71
WHAT'S YOUR PREDICTION?
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