Despite being underdogs against ranked opponents midweek, the DePaul Blue Demons and St. John’s Red Storm did not back down in their games. For the Blue Demons, the task was the mighty Villanova Wildcats who are the defending National Champions and #1 ranked team in the country. But that didn’t seem to faze DePaul as they shocked the college basketball world by sticking with the Wildcats the whole 40 minutes, even leading as late as the 3:50 mark of the second half. In the end it was the greatness of Villanova and star player Josh Hart which aided in the Wildcats 68-65 victory, but DePaul can walk away from that game with their heads held high. But the loss puts the Blue Demons in a three-game losing streak and they need a win in their next game.
St. John’s also welcomed a ranked opponent in the #13 Butler Bulldogs. Like DePaul, the Red Storm weren’t favored to stay in this game, but they did. In the final minutes of the game, they wiped out a pretty big lead and stunned Butler 76-73 to grab their first conference win of the season. Thanks to the heroics of Shamorie Ponds, St. John’s were able to climb back to .500 and get them an upper in the early parts of Big East play. Three of their first four games in conference play are against ranked opponents and getting past the first of the gauntlet must be a big relief for Chris Mullin and his staff.
After this game against DePaul, St. John’s will face Creighton at home before traveling to take on Xavier a few days later. A game against Georgetown next week on the road looms in the distance as well.
As for DePaul, they will take six days off before facing off against Seton Hall and then taking on Providence on January 10th.
How to watch, listen, or stream
Game time: 2 PM ET
TV: Fox Sports 1 (Brandon Gaudin, Dickey Simpkins)
Radio: WSCR 670 AM (DePaul) || 1070 AM The Fan, St. John’s IMG Radio Network
Stream: Fox Sports Go (Where available)
Odds: St. John’s is a 2-point favorite according to OddsShark.com
Record ATS: DePaul (5-9) || St. John’s (8-6)
This is the 38th meeting between the two schools with, St. John’s leading the all-time series 20-17. They split the season series last year, with both teams earning a win at home. The last game played between SJU and DePaul was on February 25th, where DePaul won 83-75.
Which scorer will step up for their respective teams?
Fun fact: DePaul and St. John’s leading scorers, Eli Cain and Shamorie Ponds, respectively, both average 17.9 points per game. Both Ponds and Cain will have to be on full display for their teams if they want their offenses to flourish. A lot of the offense relies on either them driving to hoop or setting up shots for teammates. But for Ponds, he has more help than Cain does (St. John’s has three players who average double digit points per game, compared to the two of DePaul). This will be a shootout between Cain and Ponds, which is a really good thing if you enjoy offense.
St. John’s ball movement
Despite having a dominant scorer in Ponds, St. John’s likes to move the ball around and find open shots for anyone on the court. Their 14.8 assists per game are good for 117th in the country. Marcus LoVett leads the Red Storm with 3.9 dimes per game.
DePaul needs to break their losing streak
DePaul has lost three straight games heading into this game including the aforementioned heartbreaker against ‘Nova. With games against Seton Hall and Providence coming up, this is a good time for DePaul to break their streak and start winning some games in Big East play. Otherwise they will have a tough time getting it going.