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St. John’s travels without Marcus LoVett

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The Johnnies star guard remains sidelined with a knee injury.

NCAA Basketball: Xavier at St. John Anthony Gruppuso-USA TODAY Sports

According to reports from Zach Brazillier of the New York Post, St. John’s guard Marcus LoVett did not travel with the team to Arizona. However, he reports further that LoVett could rejoin the team in Los Angeles for a bout with Arizona State.

Chris Mullin’s bunch enters this pivotal west coast road trip with a 7-1 record. St. John’s will face a decent Grand Canyon team before battling the potent Sun Devils of Arizona State.

As the Red Storm eye a NCAA Tournament bid this year, winning two games out west would be huge for their résumé.

Specifically, a victory over Bobby Hurley’s Arizona State would be enormous. The Sun Devils are an up-tempo team that can outscore just about anyone. They shoot the ball well, they limit their turnovers, and they get teams out on the fast break. Out of their seven games, they have reached 90 points a total of six times. That includes hanging a 102 on a strong Xavier Musketeers club.

LoVett is a significant aspect of this St. John’s team. So far this season, he is averaging 15 points, two rebounds, and two assists per game. He provides the Red Storm with a much needed punch in the backcourt. His athleticism is tough for opponents to match. Furthermore, his aggressive defense gives opposing ball handlers many problems. His ability to create turnovers and transition opportunities is vital for the Johnnies defense. He averages about two steals per game.

Additionally, his absence leaves the St. John’s bench very thin. Without LoVett, the Johnnies will have to use an eight player rotation. This increases issues if the Johnnies come upon foul trouble. Potentially, this could warrant more passive defense to avoid picking up fouls.

Still, the Red Storm cannot make excuses. Playing well on this west coast trip is important with or without LoVett.

“It’s a huge opportunity,” said forward Marvin Clark to reporters about the trip. “Both of these teams are both great scoring teams, so we are going to have to bring it defensively. We are going to have to bring a lot of grit. It’s a great opportunity to knock off a top-25 team, and see how we rank among the top-25.”