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St. John’s vs. Marquette men’s basketball preview and game thread

The Red Storm head to the Cream City to face the seventh-ranked Golden Eagles

St. John’s Red Storm guard RJ Luis Jr. (12) looks to drive past Marquette Golden Eagles forward Oso Ighodaro (13) in the first half at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Wendell Cruz Wendell Cruz/USA TODAY Sports

St. John’s is still on the hunt for a signature win this season, and that search is growing more critical with each passing day on the bubble. They will have a fantastic opportunity to steal a huge win when they face the seventh-ranked Marquette Golden Eagles on the road on Saturday night.

The Red Storm are coming off a 85-57 squash match win over the lowly DePaul Blue Demons in which they made 15 threes, the most in a Big East game in program history.

Game information

Who: St. John’s Red Storm (14-9) vs. No. 7 Marquette Golden Eagles (17-5)

When: Saturday, February 10th, 2024, 6:00 p.m.

Where: Fiserv Forum, Milwaukee, Wisconsin

TV: FS1

Radio: Learfield Red Storm Sports Network, Sirius XM Channel 389

Odds: St. John’s (+7.5), O/U at 152.5

Series History: Marquette leads 28-16

Résumé review

St. John’s is 14-9 overall, and they are tied for sixth in the Big East standings with a conference record of 6-6. St. John’s is currently ranked 39th in KenPom and 42nd in NET while holding the 19th-best strength of schedule rating in KenPom. Their records by NET quadrants are as follows, with opponents defeated in bold:

  • 2-7 in Quad 1 games (Utah, Dayton, @ UConn, @ Villanova, @ Creighton, @ Seton Hall, Marquette, @ Xavier, UConn)
  • 5-1 in Quad 2 games (North Texas, Boston College, Xavier, Butler, Providence, Villanova)
  • 2-1 in Quad 3 games (Michigan, @ West Virginia, Hofstra)
  • 5-0 in Quad 4 games (Stony Brook, Holy Cross, Sacred Heart, Fordham, DePaul)

Note that Dayton, Utah, North Texas, and Boston College are designated as neutral site games

Facing Marquette (NET #11) at home gives St. John’s a chance to claim a Quad 1 win. St. John’s has lost five straight Quad 1 games.

According to Bracket Matrix, St. John’s is seeded in 72 of 96 different bracketology selections, with an average seed of 10.28 as of yesterday. In his latest update, ESPN bracketologist Joe Lunardi has picked St. John’s as the first team out.

Injury update

No injury news

Know the enemy

Golden Eagles fly on offense - Marquette’s six-game winning streak has been fueled by standout offensive performances. Within that span, they’re averaging 82.8 points per game while shooting 54.3% from the field and 40.8% from three.

Reading Rainbow - Tyler Kolek has been a maestro on offense, averaging 18.5 points and 9.5 assists on 50% from the field, 43.3% from three, and 80% from the free throw line. In his last game against St. John’s, he logged 15 points, 11 assists, and 6 rebounds in an all-around performance for the Golden Eagles.

Super-Kam - After missing most of his previous two games with an ankle injury, junior guard Kam Jones scored a career-high 31 points on 12-of-15 shooting, plus 7-of-9 from three in only 21 minutes against Georgetown in Marquette’s last outing.

Storylines to follow

Ledlum on minutes restriction? - In Thursday’s media availability, Rick Pitino said he is considering reducing Chris Ledlum’s workload to 25 minutes per game and giving more playing time to Drissa Traore and R.J. Luis to make up the difference. Ledlum is averaging the second-most minutes per game among Red Storm players (29.0), and it will be interesting to see how Pitino manages his minutes on Saturday.

Dingle from deep - Jordan Dingle broke a three-game drought of made three-pointers on Tuesday night against DePaul, nailing four of his ten attempts from deep. His contributions are more than welcome for a St. John’s offense that has become too predictable over the past month.

Balancing the offense - Eleven different Johnnies entered the scoring column, seven different players made a three-pointer, and six different players scored eight or more points against DePaul.

Keys to the game

Protect the paint - In their first meeting against St. John’s, the Golden Eagles scored 52 of their 73 points in the paint. The Red Storm need to wall up and move faster on help defense, or else Marquette will feast in the post once again.

Make your shots - St. John’s out-rebounded Marquette, 41-28, in their first matchup, including pulling down 11 more offensive rebounds, but they squandered those extra opportunities by shooting 40% from the field and 23% from three. Could the three-point explosion against DePaul carry over today?

Create lanes down low - Marquette did a great job of constricting space in the post in their first meeting with St. John’s, forcing the Red Storm into several turnovers on poor entry passes. The Red Storm need to find ways to get the ball in the post and create space in the lane.

Prediction

There isn’t a convincing precedent to this game that hints to St. John’s winning a game like this. They have only won once in five road games, they still don’t have a ranked win, and they haven’t beaten Marquette on the road in front of their fans since 2019, but strange things always happen in the Big East. Butler, who trailed St. John’s for all forty minutes in their first matchup, beat Marquette on the road last month.

Still, St. John’s hasn’t proven they have the killer instinct to beat a team like Marquette in a close game. Marquette wins, 77-73.