Coming off their close loss to Minnesota, St. John’s will now make their way to the Bahamas for sun and hoops.
Waiting for them in the Bahamas will be the Battle 4 Atlantis, an eight-team round robin tournament. First on the docket for the Johnnies will be Miles Bridges and the Michigan State Spartans to open up festivities the day before Thanksgiving.
How to Watch or Stream
Game Time: 7:00 PM
TV: AXSTV (Seth Davis and Tom Walsh) - Check local listings
Radio: AM 970 The Answer (St. John’s), Michigan State Spartans Sports Network (Michigan State)
Odds: Michigan State opens up as 8-point favorites via OddsShark
Record ATS: Michigan State (0-2), St. John’s (3-0)
O/U: The O/U opened at 110.
All Times Series
This will be the third time that Michigan State and St. John’s will be meeting each other. The first two meetings took place in 1968 and 1979, with the last meeting occurring in the 1979-80 season, the very first season of the Big East.
At the time, St. John’s were then known as the Redmen. Despite this being a neutral site game this game will also be the first time that St. John’s will be playing Michigan State away from home, as the first two meetings took place at Alumni Hall now known as the Carnesecca Arena and Madison Square Garden.
So far in this extremely brief series, St. John’s has lead with a 2-0 record.
Three Things to Watch For
Differences of Size: The matchup of size in this game will be interesting to see as Michigan State will be playing a smaller lineup compared to the bigs that St. John’s can put out on the floor. This could be an area that St. John’s can take advantage of, but Michigan State will have the counter of their physicality especially in the play of Miles Bridges who is one to keep an eye out for on the Spartans.
LoVett and Ponds: Three games in and the backcourt tandem of Marcus LoVett and Shamorie Ponds has been playing like they’ve been here before, providing the Johnnies with an offensive motor. Though it is still early in the season, the duo at the moment are currently standing as the highest scoring teammates in the Big East with a combined 41.6 points per game.
LoVett at the moment is the Big East’s leading scorer and in the Top 20 in the nation at 24.3 per game. Last time out against Minnesota he erupted for 31 points. As for Ponds, he has had back-to-back 20 point games. The tandem do most of their work at range from beyond the arc, combining for 22 out of 33 of St. John’s’ 3-pointers so far this season. They are, at the moment, the very focal point of the offense for the Red Storm.
Working in Transition: What St. John’s does in transition may as well be an ongoing trend to watch this season. Early on against Bethune-Cookman and Binghamton, the Johnnies had strong signs of a transition game, especially in moving the ball on offense. Against Minnesota though it was a different tale for St. John’s as they struggled to adjust on defense in transition, an area that the Golden Gophers exposed midway through the first half allowing them to score 14 fast break points. Going forward especially into this game, this is an area that St. John’s needs to tighten up on or run the risk of being exposed for the second consecutive game.