How to Watch
When/Where: Noon ET/Madison Square Garden, NY, NY
Streaming: Fox Sports GO
Bets are On
Villanova is favored by -13.5, according to OddsShark.
St. John’s leads Villanova in their all-time series history, 59-53. However, in the past 15 meetings, ‘Nova has dominated St. John’s 14-1. In fact, the last time St. John’s grabbed a W over the Wildcats was in 2011. Going back even further, Villanova has not lost to the Red Storm at Madison Square Garden since 2002.
For ‘Nova fans still thirsting for triple digits after the high-scoring Marquette game, the last time Villanova scored over 100 points was actually against St. John’s in 2015.
A passing glance at the Red Storm’s schedule so far, going 2-3 in Big East Conference action and 8-10 overall, may not leave a lasting impression. However, St. John’s has managed to etch itself as a “wildcard” of sorts, namely seen through their late December upset of Butler 76-73.
Yes, the same Butler who holds the special recognition of serving Villanova its first loss of the season. Led by the efforts of star freshman Shamorie Ponds, St. John’s toppled the Bulldogs with executed shooting prowess. Redshirt freshman Marcus LoVett and junior Bashir Ahmed additionally contribute greatly to the Johnnies’ offense, with LoVett leading the Red Storm averaging 17.6 points per game and Ahmed averaging 12.3 points.
St. John’s will certainly attempt to channel that “overpower-the-ranked-team” grit, but coming in from three game losing streak is not bolstering their odds of success.
On the other end of the court, since the Butler loss Villanova has bounced back with a noticeable vengeance. Senior Kris Jenkins in particular has amped his renowned smooth touch, scoring the most points for ‘Nova in their last two games (23 against Marquette; 20 against Xavier). Interestingly, Jenkins’ 11 rebounds - a career high - came at the expense of St. John’s last year—quality defensive work could be in the cards again at MSG.
Fellow senior Josh Hart is also expected to continue his trend of putting up major buckets. Leading the Wildcats offensively by averaging 19.8 points per game, Hart’s playmaking never ceases to astound despite its consistent excellence.
Additionally, sophomore Jalen Brunson’s game impressively levels with his senior counterparts and shows no signs of wavering. Beating out Jenkins and nailing the second-highest scoring average for ‘Nova (14.4 points per game), Brunson is also only marginally behind Hart for field goals made (Brunson averaging 54.1 percent, Hart averaging 54.2 percent).
Big East games at Madison Square Garden typically do not disappoint, and this should be no exception.