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St. John’s vs. Indiana, Gavitt Games: Preview, how to watch, odds

It’s St. John’s turn in the Gavitt Games, as a midweek affair with the Hoosiers beckons

NCAA Basketball: Mississippi Valley State at St. John Wendell Cruz-USA TODAY Sports

How to watch St. John’s vs. Indiana

Time and Date: Wednesday, November 17, 2021, at 9:00 PM et

Where: Assembly Hall, Bloomington, Indiana

TV: Fox Sports 1

Stream: Fox Sports Go

Records: St. John’s (2-0) || Indiana (2-0)

Rankings: St. John ‘s (#47 KenPom) || Indiana (#36 KenPom)

Game Preview

We are amid the annual Gavitt Games. A proverbial fest of basketball as the Big East takes on the Big Ten. So for in the 2021 rendition of the games, the Big East has taken a 4-0 lead over the Big Ten opponents with wins by Marquette, Providence, Creighton, and Seton Hall.

St. John’s chance against the Big Ten comes Wednesday night as the Red Storm make their way to Assembly Hall in Bloomington, Indiana to take on the Hoosiers.

Much like St. John’s, Indiana is 2-0 on the season with a close win over Eastern Michigan and a much more impressive blowout win over Northern Illinois. This game against the Johnnies will be the first true test for a relatively young Hoosiers team that features eight freshmen on the roster.

This will also be an interesting test for first-year Hoosiers’ coach Mike Woodson, who up to this point in his career has mostly been a coach at the professional level with head coaching tenures with both the Atlanta Hawks and more famously the New York Knicks. The change of pace to the college ranks has been a reset for both Woodson who is entering a new era in his coaching career by returning to his alma mater, while also helping them usher in a new era of Indiana basketball.

But just what is St. John’s instore for against these Indiana Hoosiers?

Well, they are led by Trayce Jackson-Davis who so far this season albeit small sample size of 2 games has averaged a double-double of 20.0 points per game and 10.5 rebounds per game. He is also ranked 15th in the nation in block percentage per KenPom with a percentage of 16.7% so far this season. Lastly his field goal percentage so far this season is at 65.2%. It's only been 2 games but Jackson-Davis is a hot hand when he gets going.

Two other notable options for the Hoosiers are in the form of Xavier Johnson who so far has been averaging 13.5 points per game and Race Thompson who has been averaging 8,5 points per game and 10,0 rebounds per game. It will be interesting on a side note to side how Thompson is used against the Red Storm as most likely could be the matchup that Julian Champagnie has to contend with unless the assignment is given to Miller Kopp or Jordon Geronimo.

The one downside to this Indiana team is that they are not exactly the best shooting team in terms of numbers as has been the case in recent seasons. Then again these are small samples after only two games, but once again this might be the case as while they are decent at converting from within the perimeter currently sitting at 53th in the country in 2-point percentage at 57.7%, they once again dire from beyond the arc sitting at 279th in the nation with a percentage of 25.5% from beyond the arc. It will be interesting to see just what Indiana does in terms of shooting as St. John’s will look to break any offensive rhythm with their defense pushing the Hoosiers into areas of the floor that they might be suited.

The lineup that the Red Storm most likely will see for much of the game will be:

PG - Xavier Johnson

SG - Parker Stewart

SF - Miller Kopp

PF - Trayce Jackson-Davis

C - Race Thompson

On the reverse side of things, St. John’s are riding into this game as well with a 2-0 record with rolling wins over Mississippi Valley State and Saint Peter’s. It is not exactly the toughest of opposition so far so this game much like for Indiana will be the first true test of the season of the Red Storm. Still, the signs so far show an improved team on offense with a bit of exciting dynamism thrown into the mix. Currently, the Johnnies are the best team in the nation in converting 2-pointers with a percentage from KenPom of 70.0% and the 8th best team from beyond the arc with a percentage of 48.1%. Even more impressive the Johnnies are the best team in the nation in terms of Effective FG% with a mark of 71.0%.

For being a defensive coach and a disciple of Nolan Richardson, Mike Anderson has turned the Red Storm into a storming force on the offensive side of the ball. That is while also still being sound on defense, it's just that the hum of defense and offense play different tunes at different volumes. Though oddly enough so far in this young season, St. John’s has a turnover rate on defense of 21.4% this is the lowest mark for a Mike Anderson team in his coaching career.

Naturally, it is still a young season so if anything with each game the Johnnies will round into form on defense even more. Not to mention that the idea of offense is an easier concept to go and attack compared to staking your ground on the court and pressing. Though Indiana should have a fun time with St. John’s press. I say fun in the loosest turn of phrase though for Johnnies fans it should be fun.

The last bit to mention is honestly Julian Champagnie and Posh Alexander have so far been as good as they last left off for the Red Storm. Champagnie so far has been averaging 21.0 points per game and has looked more impressive with the ball so far this season. Whereas Alexander has been an assist machine averaging 8.0 assists per game so far this season while also posting a nice 15.0 points per game as well.

The most impressive aspect though is that St. John’s looks to be a much deeper squad and that is starting to shine thru with each game. Tareq Coburn and O’Mar Stanley have impressed so far providing some excellent offensive boost, and Joel Soriano despite some teething issues has staked out the center position for himself. He has that ability to take away the paint while also providing some power down low for the Red Storm on offense. In a way, it feels like it has been a while since the Johnnies have had an effective center.

In all, it should be an interesting game with both teams looking to see where to go from here. Both the Hoosiers and the Red Storm have a lot to prove in this game and for all of us, watching will be interesting to see what unfold.