HOW TO WATCH OR STREAM
Time: 6:30 ET
Streaming: FOX Sports Go
What has gotten into the Xavier Musketeers in the past month? After being left for dead and losing six straight Big East games to fall to 3-8 in conference play, the Musketeers have bounced back with four straight victories to pull to 7-8 in Big East play and 15-13 on the season.
Their most recent victory came Sunday against the Villanova Wildcats, in which the Musketeers allowed a season-low 54 points. After a rocky start to the season defensively, Travis Steele’s bunch seem to have figured things out on the defensive side of the ball, and the big man pairing of Tyrique Jones and Zach Hankins has caused matchup issues for many of the Big East’s undersized teams of late. Paul Scruggs and Naji Marshall have taken the next step in their progression from year one to year two, as their per game averages are up across the board, and while this is still a transitional year for the Musketeers, things certainly feel better than they did a month ago.
Meanwhile, the St. John’s Red Storm seem to be in good shape with regards to the NCAA Tournament. Coming into Thursday, they’re 20-7 on the year and 8-7 in Big East play. Shamorie Ponds and the Red Storm play Xavier twice and then DePaul heading into the Big East Tournament, so barring a complete meltdown, the Red Storm should be in good shape. While they’ve been inconsistent at points this year, St. John’s has five players averaging double-digit scoring this season, with Ponds leading the way at 19.7. If you don’t lock down defensively, St. John’s can get going in a hurry.