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Game Preview: Providence vs. St. John's

The Friars look to even their Big East conference record in Carnesecca against the Johnnies who are looking for their first win in conference play.

Bryce Cotton will need another big performance going up against D'Angelo Harrison and St. John's
Bryce Cotton will need another big performance going up against D'Angelo Harrison and St. John's
Mark L. Baer-USA TODAY Sports

Providence has won 13 of the last 17 meetings against St. John's dating back to 2001. The two have tipped off against one another every season since the 1969-70 season with the Johnnies holding a convincing 31-15 record when the two have met in the big apple. The last time the Friars traveled to Queens back on December 27, 2011, they fell to a strong St. John's squad 91-67. Providence has yet to win at St. John's in four years.

Who to Watch: With eight days off in between games, the Friars should have no minute concerns, if there was ever any with this undermanned squad. Kadeem Batts returned to his old form against Georgetown, pouring in 21 points and by showing he could hit that elbow jumper that has worked for him in the past, it opened up passing lanes for a Friar team that can get hot from deep. Without the Hoyas Josh Smith, Batts owned the paint but will have a tougher time calling it home against a St. John's team that isn't short on big bodies. Chris Obekpa and Orlando Sanchez, who both had the Friars in their final list of schools before declaring to go to St. John's, are two guys not afraid to mix it up down low and even stretch the floor from time to time.

What to Watch: The point guard, or scoring guard really, battle between Bryce Cotton and D'Angelo Harrison has the chance to be very special. These two can pour in buckets, while still making sure to get everyone else involved. Two of the better guards will be on display tonight and it will be interesting to see which will be able to stay with the other better on the defensive end of the floor. Both Steve Lavin and Ed Cooley could prefer to throw another bigger guard on the other team's primary scorer and ball handler. Be sure not to look away when either of these two have the ball in their hands.

When to Watch: Tip off is scheduled for 7:00 p.m ET at Carnesecca Arena around the St. John's campus in Queens, NY.

Where to Watch (and listen): Fox Sports 1 will be televising this old school Big East affair as Justin Kutcher and Ron Thompson will have the call. For those in New England, you can listen to 103.7 WEEI FM and the voices of the Friars, John Rooke and Joe Hassett. will also have a live audio broadcast for those not fortunate enough to be around a television.

Now: It is hard to imagine St. John's falling to 0-5 in Big East play but that is what is at stake tonight. Coming off a tough two point loss the other night to DePaul, the Johnnies are one of the more disappointing stories thus far in the Big East considering they could have the most raw talent. With eight days in between games, Providence should have their legs under them and should avoid that last first and second half swoon that they often experience. JaKarr Sampson, another player who had Ed Cooley and Providence in his final list a few years ago, is someone who could give Providence fits. His size and athleticism is something the Friars could struggle with. St. John's will most likely look to get up and down the floor with all the bodies they have as Ed Cooley hopes his guys can make this a half court style game where they can run their sets and control the clock.

Prediction: Like I said earlier, I can't see St. John's falling to 0-5 in conference play in this new Big East with all the talent they have on their roster. Being at home and playing in a more confined environment in Carnesecca should give this team the confidence they need to upend the Friars.

Providence 60 St. John's 68