Time and Date: Tuesday, January 12 @ 7:00 pm ET
Records: Butler (3-6) | St. John’s (6-6)
Rankings: Butler (#88 KenPom) | St. John’s (#90 KenPom)
TV Channel: FS1
Watch Online: FOX Sports GO
Butler and St. John’s finally meet for the first time this season on Tuesday after their December 14th matchup was postponed due to a positive COVID test within the Butler program. Both have struggled to find their footing in BIG EAST play, with the Bulldogs coming in at 2-4 and the Johnnies at 1-5, but both have had more difficult schedules than expected thus far due to COVID shutdowns around the conference.
Butler won both meetings with St. John’s last season – first, narrowly escaping after blowing a 23-point lead on December 31 and later blowing out the Johnnies on March 4. The Bulldogs have dominated the series over the last few years, winning nine of the last twelve.
Butler seemed to be showing improvement over the last couple weeks, but experienced a setback against UConn Saturday. The Huskies were clearly top dog, burying the Bulldogs with athleticism and physicality, winning by 12 even without leading scorer James Bouknight. LaVall Jordan will be looking for a big response from his squad against a beatable opponent in St. John’s.
Meanwhile, St. John’s had a big win vs. Georgetown on 12/20, but after missing two games due to COVID, the Johnnies came back and lost to Xavier before getting blown out by Creighton. They also will be licking their chops against a Butler team they feel like they can beat.
St. John’s matches up well with Butler as the Red Storm are able to bring some of the same length and athleticism that UConn brings. While St. John’s leaves much to be desired defensively, Butler’s offense is low on firepower and may not be able to take advantage of the Johnnies’ shortcomings.
Pace will be key as St. John’s is currently #11 in the country in possessions per game while Butler is #331. A low-scoring game favors the Bulldogs, but if the score gets up into the 70s and 80s, that will favor the Johnnies.