The Xavier Musketeers fought off a strong first half from DePaul to win 86-65 this past Saturday in Rosemont, Illinois. The game didn't start out too well for X, as they struggled to start the game but were able to pick themselves up by halftime and lead DePaul by nine.
They ended up pulling away for their third-straight win after losing to Georgetown about a week ago. With the win Xavier is now 19-2, but are still a game back of Villanova for first place in the conference.
But there is no doubt that Chris Mack's team is in the running for the best team in the conference. ESPN's Joe Lunardi has the X as a No. 2 seed and if they finish out the season well, they could be in the running for a number one seed. Xavier has some winnable games against Marquette and Creighton before they face Butler at Hinkle Fieldhouse.
It hasn't been a fun season for the St. John's Red Storm as they find themselves dead last in the BIG EAST with a 7-15 record and they are still looking for their first win in conference play. They most recently got dispatched by Villanova as this young team continues to learn Chris Mullin's team has to put up a good fight.
They haven't won since they got a huge win against Syracuse and that was all the way back in December. Maybe St.John's can pull that type of upset here too. But we aren't banking on that. Then again, after DePaul's victory over Providence Tuesday night, anything's possible, right?
How to watch, listen, or stream
Game Time: 6:30 p.m. ET
Radio: 700 WLW (Xavier) || 570 WMCA (St. John's)
Stream: Streaming is available via FOX Sports GO where available.
Odds: Xavier enters this game as a 23.5-point favorite (via OddsShark).
Record ATS: 14-7 (Xavier) || 8-14 (St.John's)
O/U: The O/U opened at 149.5
3 things to watch
1. Team scoring from Xavier: While most of the attention may go to Trevon Bluiett, Xavier is much more than just their talented sophomore forward on offense. Myles Davis, James Farr, and Edmond Sumner all average double digits for the X and on this team, anyone can go off. Like against DePaul, J.P. Macura and Larry Austin Jr. had solid games for the Musketeers. This team is pretty deep and can beat you in many different ways.
2. St. John's shooting... or lack thereof: As a team the Red Storm shoot 39.3 percent from the field and struggle shooting a lot of the time in BIG EAST play. Top that off with an Xavier team that rebounds very well, 16th in the nation, and defends pretty well. This may not be pretty for the Red Storm as they will have to shoot very well to make this even a close game against Xavier.
3. Will Xavier overlook St. John's?: One of the best teams in the conference face off against the worst team in the conference who haven't won a single game in conference play. This has all the makings, on paper, for an easy win for Xavier but as we've learned, games are not won on paper. Xavier will have to come out and dominate from the opening whistle. Come out and build a big lead and St. John's won't know how to come back. The Musketeers have to still continue to be on their A game as they chase Villanova for best in the BIG EAST and a possible No. 1 seed in the NCAA Tournament.