St. John’s Red Storm (10-8 I 0-6 Big East) versus #11/12 Xavier Musketeers (16-3 I 4-2 Big East)

Where: Cintas Center, Cincinnati, OH

When: Wednesday, January 17th, 8:30 PM ET

TV: CBS Sports Network 

A few weeks ago this looked like a great match-up, but since that time the Red Storm have lost all six of their Big East conference games and are reeling. Let’s look at the keys to the game.

St. John’s has to shoot the three-pointer well

The Red Storm are last in the Big East in shooting the three-pointer but to have any chance in this game they will have to get hot behind the arc.  Bashir Ahmed and Bryan Trimble, Jr. will most likely be the players to get it done–if it gets done–and both are very capable.

The Red Storm need to get in sync offensively

The Red Storm have not been able to get in a rhythm and seem to have no leadership. If this continues tonight they will be in for a massive beating by a deep and talented Xavier team. They need to decide the style of play they are going to play on offense. Do they want to set screens so Justin Simon can drive and distribute? Or do they want to isolate Shamorie Ponds? They need to be able to get more people in the flow offensively.

Rebounding

The Red Storm need to compete in the post. The Red Storm’s Tariq Owens and Marvin Clark need to find ways to at least slow down Kanter and O’Mera for Xavier. If they don’t, you will see Macura and Bluiett hitting three’s all day off kickout passes.

Prediction: This one on paper looks like a mismatch and I think that will translate to the hardwood in this one. Xavier will dominate the boards and send St. Johns to their seventh-straight Big East Conference defeat.

Xavier 85  St. John’s 68