St. John's vs. Providence
When: Saturday, January 2nd, 2016 3:30 p.m. ET
Where: Dunkin' Donuts Center, Providence, Rhode Island
How to Watch: FOX Sports 1
How to Listen: 570 WMCA
With St. John's at 7-7, 0-1 in the Big East, it's easy to think of the season in some kind of downward spiral, with four losses in a row as the Big East slate kicks into higher gear.
And what a higher gear it is. The 12th/13th ranked Providence Friars host the Johnnies at 3:30 as part of the New Year's Marathon for Fox Sports 1. The Friars are 13-1 and 1-0 in league play, featuring the preseason player of the year Kris Dunn and some emerging talent for Ed Cooley's squad.
The Friars have been without freshman sharp shooter Ryan Fazekas (mono), but they have received consistent production from their role players and bench.
For St. John's, the key to the game is confidence and development. The team struggled defensively and didn't generate consistent offense to make runs against Creighton; each game is a learning experience for the team. The Johnnies will have to knock down plenty of threes, take care of the ball against the Friars pressure defense and show physicality in the paint against Ben Bentil and Rodney Bullock.
Malik Ellison had a nice game; was it a blip? Federico Mussini and Christian Jones were quiet. Can they find their shots? Can the defense be stout enough to deny penetration - and minimize the team breakdowns to make things hard for Providence's Dunn or the emergent forward Bentil?