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BIG EAST GAME PREVIEW: Red Storm travel to face Butler

Butler looks to keep St John’s winless in conference play

NCAA Basketball: Villanova at St. John Anthony Gruppuso-USA TODAY Sports

THE FACTS

Time and Date: Saturday, January 27 at 2:30 p.m. ET

Records: St John’s (10-11) | (Butler (14-7)

Rankings: St John’s (#85 KenPom) | Butler (#35 KenPom)

TV Channel: FS1

Watch Online: FOX Sports Go

Last Year: St John’s edged Butler 76-73 in New York, but the Dawgs got revenge in Indianapolis, winning 110-86.


ODDS AND ENDS

(via OddsShark)

The Spread: Butler is a 9-point favorite.

Over/Under: 146 points


GAME PREVIEW

After a gauntlet of terror to open the Big East season, Butler is now comfortably settled into its easiest part of the conference schedule. The Dawgs beat DePaul last Saturday, and will have enjoyed a full week of rest coming into Saturday’s game against St John’s. Butler will be looking for its first winning streak since beating Georgetown and Villanova at the end of December.

Meanwhile, St John’s is searching for its first Big East win of any kind. The Red Storm can’t seem to catch a break, having played six close games in a row and having lost every one of them. St John’s comes into the match-up against Butler at 0-9 and dead last in the conference.

Things look even bleaker for St John’s because the game is being played at Hinkle Fieldhousem where Butler is 10-1 this season. However, one can’t help but think that St John’s will eventually pull through and come up with a conference win. Perhaps Saturday could be the day for Chris Mullin’s squad.


KEYS TO THE GAME

St. John’s: SHAMORIE

First of all, Shamorie Ponds must play. He is questionable for the matchup with a bruised thigh, and the Red Storm are all but hopeless without him. If Ponds does play, he will need to play exceptionally well to lead St John’s to victory. In the Red Storm’s stunning win against Butler last year, Ponds had 26 points and seven rebounds and scored seven points in the last two minutes. He will have to produce a similar performance for St John’s to upset Butler.

Butler: Shake off the rust

Butler really has no reason to lose this game or even allow St John’s to hang around. The one thing that may play to Butler’s disadvantage is the full week off. While the Bulldogs should be physically rested, they may come out sluggish against the Red Storm. Butler is a team that hasn’t always been mentally and emotionally engaged this season, and they could be shocked at home if they don’t come ready to play.