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Game thread: St. John’s at DePaul

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Chicagoland is dangerous for the visiting Red Storm, and St. John’s still needs to play a high-level game.

NCAA Basketball: DePaul at St. John
A demon wall
Anthony Gruppuso-USA TODAY Sports

Tonight, late in Chicago, it’s going down!

Well, hopefully, the winning streak isn’t going down, because the Johnnies need to knock off DePaul if they do not want this sudden surge to simply be a fluke.

[Read more in the St. John’s vs DePaul game preview.]

Why, even Five Thirty Eight is in on talking about the improbability of what is happening:

How unexpected was this sudden reversal? Our Elo power-rating data goes back to the 1949-50 season, and over that span there have been 1,207 streaks where a team won three games in a row against opponents who each had Elo ratings over 1750 — the mark of a good team.2 Of those 1,207 teams, none had a lower Elo at the start of their streak than St. John’s, who’d dropped to a 1511 rating at its nadir (which was a low point since Dec. 2016, and the program’s fifth-lowest rating in a season since 1964). Statistically speaking, the Johnnies might have been the least likely team in history to rattle off those three particular wins at that particular moment in time.

We are, of course, more concerned about keeping the good thing going for Chris Mullin’s team. Defense will be needed, and outside shooting will be necessary; and Shamorie Ponds will have to contend against taller defenders, as a group, than he has so far during the winning streak.

St. John’s played lackluster stretches in the first contest, and will need to come with the right attitude and execution tonight.

How do you think this will go down, by half?

Game Details

Who: St. John’s Red Storm (13-13, 2-11 Big East) vs. DePaul Blue Demons (10-14, 3-9 Big East)

Where: Wintrust Arena, Chicago, IL (capacity 10,387)

When: Wednesday, February 14th, 9:00 PM ET

TV: CBS Network | CBS Sports Online

Audio: Tune In Radio

Last Meeting: DePaul broke open their first meeting at Carnesecca Arena on January 6th, winning 91-74.

Also: read up on DePaul’s bench energy guy, Pantelis Xidias.