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Villanova heads to The Garden to face a snakebitten St. John’s squad

Wildcats look to carry their hot offense into the Big Apple Saturday night.

NCAA Basketball: Xavier at Villanova Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

WHERE: Madison Square Garden, New York

TIME: 8:00 EST

TV: Fox Business Network

ONLINE: Fox Sports Go

LINE: Villanova (-12.5)

SERIES HISTORY: 118th meeting between teams (St. John's leads series 59-56)


It certainly has been a tale of two cities and their basketball programs this season.

For Villanova, they have been clicking on all cylinders. Following their only loss of the season to Butler, the Wildcats responded in a big way. They put up a 100 spot on Marquette last Saturday, and took down top ten foe Xavier Wednesday night.

Although the Wildcats are "shorthanded" with the loss of freshmen Jermaine Samuels and Collin Gillespie who have been sidelined with broken hands, they certainly have not looked like it. That is in large part due to Donte Divincenzo and Phil Booth.

Divincenzo, who can make the case for Big East Sixth Man of the Year is averaging 12 points a game off the Jay Wright bench and provides a spark along with taking some of the pressure to score off of Jalen Brunson and Mikal Bridges' plates. As for Booth, how much he would produce this season was a big question following missing all of last season with a bad knee. So far, he's proved his knee is just fine, averaging 12 points, 3 rebounds, and 3 assists along with shooting 52% from the field.

As for St. John's, it's been a bit of a bumpy ride in conference play.

If starting off Big East play 0-5 for the second time in three season wasn't bad enough, the rollercoaster of sophomore guard Marcus LoVett's medical status was finalized and will miss the rest of the year with a sprained MCL. With the sudden adjustment of playing without a preseason All-Big East Second team selection, the Johnnies have dropped five straight and look to turn it around.

Without LoVett, sophomores Shamorie Ponds and Justin Simon will lead the backcourt which now seems diminished. Forward play from Tariq Owens, Marvin Clark II, and Kassoum Yakwe will be crucial as well to grab rebounds and keep St. John's in the contest.

This game will likely go Villanova's way, but the Wildcats are known to play down to their opponents and make it a close game.