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Game Thread: St. John's vs. Xavier

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The Johnnies will look to earn their first Big East win over the Musketeers.

Mark L. Baer-USA TODAY Sports

St. John's vs. Xavier

When: Wednesday, January 6th, 2016 at 9:15 p.m. ET

Where: Carnesecca Arena, Jamaica, Queens

How to Watch: FOX Sports 1

How to Listen: 570 WMCA

The Johnnies have played solid basketball against top level competition (Syracuse, South Carolina, Providence), but they are going to need to play a near perfect game to pull off an upset over 10th ranked Xavier. The Musketeers were one of the best teams in the nation during the non-conference slate and even in their loss to Villanova, they played without one of their most important players, point guard Edmond Sumner.

According to SNY.tv, Sumner (concussion) is out tonight due to a head injury he suffered against the Wildcats. That might not help the Johnnies much due to the fact that Chris Mack's team is very balanced and efficient. They are tough on the boards, physical on defense and aggressive in transition.

Yankuba Sima, who has been the team's best player the last two games, will have to battle with Jalen Reynolds, Trevon Bluiett and Sean O'Mara in the paint while Federico Mussini may be the key to the game. With Sumner out, Mussini won't have to deal with the freshman's size and length.

If the Johnnies are going to have any shot at victory, they must knock down a bunch of threes and limit their turnovers.

Bluiett is a match-up problem. How does Mullin game plan to guard him?

Will Felix Balamou continue to show his great slashing ability?

Will the Johnnies continue to play the lineup of Sima, Balamou, Durand Johnson, Malik Ellison, Amar Alibegovic after their success against Providence?

Pre-game reading:

St. John's vs. Xavier: Q&A with Caleb Childers of Banners on the Parkway

Beacons of Hope: Yankuba Sima is excelling in Big East play