We're a week into conference play and the BIG EAST has finally gotten their toes wet. Conference play can eat you alive quickly. It's tough, physical, and unforgiving. The No. 10 Xavier Musketeers and the St. John's Red Storm have already learned that in the first week of play, and these two teams will face off on Wednesday evening at historic Carnesecca Arena in Jamaica, Queens.
How to watch, listen or stream
Game Time: 9 p.m. ET
Live Stream: Streaming is available via FOX Sports GO where available.
Spread: The Musketeers opened as 15-point favorites via OddsShark. The line has bumped up to 15.5 in some spots.
O/U: The o/u is at 142.5. At select spots, it can be had at 142
Three Things to Watch
Xavier Bigs: Xavier is big, they play big, and they often shove it down other team's throats. Jalen Reynolds, James Farr, and Trevon Bluiett are all averaging over six rebounds per game as the Musketeers are one of the best in the nation in most if not all rebounding categories.
If the Johnnies want to win this game, they must crash the boards. If they give Xavier second chances it will be a long night. Look out for Jalen Reynolds tonight especially. He is a player who had high expectations coming into this season and has more than done his part, averaging 10.1 points and 6.2 rebounds per game.. With a favorable matchup against freshman Yankuba Sima, look too see if Jalen can capitalize and have a big day.
Also, do not be surprised if you see sophomore Sean O'Mara come in and have a big day. The Xavier big men have a major weight advantage against the Red Storm's frontcourt in the trenches to say the very least.
Mussini Show: Personally, one of my favorite freshmen to watch in the Big East is Federico Mussini. Mussini, from Reggio Emilia, Italy has become the face of St. John's, playing 33.1 minutes per game, averaging 12.7 points, and shooting 84 percent from the free throw line. This team typically rises or falls depending on the play of the Italian Stallion, who struggled in his last game against Providence scoring only three points. Look for Federico to bounce back at home against an Edmond Sumner-less Xavier team. If seniors Durand Johnson and Felix Balamou play up to how they can play, Xavier could be in trouble with that trifecta of scoring.
Who Will Step up for Xavier: In Xavier's last game against Butler, senior Remy Abell scored a career-high 21 points. Who will step up this time around? Wednesday will mark the third game that Xavier will play without point guard Edmond Sumner who is dealing with a head injury after a disastrous fall vs. Villanova last week.
Two candidates could be Kasier Gates and Larry Austin Jr. Gates came off the bench and scored 10 points, while Austin Jr. also got more playing time as a result of Sumner's absence. Or will we see Abell catch some momentum off his career night? I'd also not be surprised to see if Big East villain JP Macura comes in and lit it up, either.
Regardless, the Xavier roster is deep with talent. Look to see someone step up their scoring against the Red Storm. They will need it to beat St. John's at Carnesecca on Wednesday evening.