How to Watch, Stream, and More
Time: 8 pm ET
Stream: Fox Sports Go
Listen: Sirius XM (St. John’s), WMCA 570 AM (Seton Hall)
For the second time this season, the St. John’s Red Storm will be taking on the Seton Hall Pirates. This time, the two teams will do battle at Madison Square Garden. Normally, up top there would be a brief section about what happened the last time these two teams played each other. In this case it is much better to start this preview where things left off with the first time the Pirates played the Red Storm at the Prudential Center.
The first game between these two took place on December 29th. It was the opener for this season’s conference play. St. John’s was coming into the game undefeated, something that feels more like a halcyon dream at this point. Seton Hall, on the other hand, were also coming into this one hot, having finished out their nonconference play on a five-game win streak with an overall record of 9-3.
The Johnnies led for most of the game, and then second half cracks began to form. In what would be an omen for their Big East season to come, the Johnnies crumbled and the Pirates stepped up with Michael Nzei having a double-double performance. With one minute left, Seton Hall got their first lead of the game, which the Red Storm took back two free throws by Mustapha Heron later, with 44 seconds remaining. Then... it happened. As LJ Figueroa blocked Myles Powell shot out of bounds, the refs blew their whistle for some reason and then was ruled Seton Hall ball and then a timeout was called.
In the intervening period, Shavar Reynolds was subbed on and made his ultimate cameo appearance, hitting the game winner as the seconds waned down. The Pirates won by a score of 76-74 and kicked off Big East play with a bang.
That was then and this is now. Since their first waltz in December, St. John’s and Seton Hall have gone through peaks and valleys over the course of conference play to each end up with the same conference record of 7-7. In Seton Hall’s case, they started off with two wins on the trot and then went tit-for-tat with a loss and win then a four-game losing streak. More recently, they’ve gone 3-1 in their last four games. St. John’s on the other hand have gone win one, lose two, win two, lose one for a rotating table of results.
Both St. John’s and Seton Hall lost their last game in the midweek. St. John’s had a forgetful night in Providence against the Friars, losing by a score of 79-58. Seton Hall were held off by Xavier as the Musketeers edged out the Pirates by a score of 70-69. Now both are looking to get back on track in this one. This game does have implications for the postseason, as both the Pirates and the Red Storm are in the running for an NCAA Tournament bid. Both are hoping to improve and recover their resumes for the final stretch.
Whoever wins will get a better hold on third place in the conference as well and maybe create some space in the standings. Though that last bit might not happen, as the middle tier of the Big East this season is a mess.
St. John’s might be favorites in this one but that hinges on which team of theirs shows up. In the past few games, Shamorie Ponds has struggled on the court to find his form and in general has looked out of it. Marvin Clark II needs to avoid foul trouble, which appears to have become difficult, as teams have found it easy to get to him. Providence was a perfect example of that, as they limited him to only eight minutes on the court before fouling out on a technical. The other focal point for the Johnnies is that LJ Figueroa and Mustapha Heron need to continue their production, as they’ve become the backbone for the Red Storm at this point in the season.
For Seton Hall, they have a wide array of option at their disposal with the two Myles’: Myles Cale and Myles Powell, as well as Quincy McKnight being the focal points in terms of offensive production. They will also look to Sandro Mamukelashvili to generate action down on the block, as St. John’s really does not have an answer at center. Though Sedee Keita has looked decent at times, he has still not been enough to for the Red Storm to answer.
The one thing though that could tip the balance in this game is that St. John’s has been great at home, with a 12-3 record. Seton Hall has had their woes on the road with a record of 3-6 in games on the road. Then again, this will be played at Madison Square Garden so it might in the gray area of a home yet neutral game for both teams. It should also be worth mentioning that Seton Hall did beat Kentucky earlier this season at The Garden.