Xavier Musketeers at St. John’s Red Storm – NCAAM February 16

Xavier (11-3, 4-3) at St. John’s (13-8, 7-7)

  • Time: 5:30PM PST | 7:30PM CST | 8:30PM EST
  • Location: Carnesecca Arena, Queens, NY
  • TV: FS1

Opening Tip

The Musketeers are one of the teams that have been ravaged with COVID protocols and postponements as they have only played two games since Jan. 10. The last was on Saturday where they lost to UConn, 80-72, so the intangible of the interruption is likely to come into play against St. John’s, one of the hottest teams in the Big East.

The Red Storm has been one of the hottest teams in the league, but had a six-game winning streak end at Butler a week ago. The week off was the second longest of the season for the Johnnies.

The Musketeers hold a 14-3 advantage in the series as they lead 7-2 at SJU and have won the last 12 meetings.

Xavier took a 69-61 win on Jan. 6 in Cincinnati when Bryan Griffin had five points in a 12-0 run over a four minute stretch that gave XU a 63-51 lead with 3:30 to play. Colby Jones led the Musketeers with 16 points.

Vs. The Spread

Xavier:

  • The Musketeers are 7-3 ATS in their last 10 games
  • The total has gone OVER in 12 of Xavier’s last 17 games
  • XU is 6-0-1 ATS in it’s last 7 vs. the Red Storm

St. John’s:

  • The Red Storm is 8-1 ATS in the last 9 games
  • The Johnnies are 0-6 SU at home vs. Xavier
  • SJU is 5-0 ATS in it’s last 5 home games

Last Time Out

Xavier was back on the court Saturday for the first time since Jan. 30 as the Musketeers dropped an 80-72 decision at home vs. UConn. The Huskies hit a 9-2 run midway through the second half which broke a 49-49 tie as Xavier was never able to tie the game back up and the Muskies wilted down the stretch. Zach Freemantle posted 30 points and 15 rebounds as the Musketeers assisted 19 of 26 makes.

The Red Storm dropped a tough 76-73 overtime decision against Butler last Tuesday night as they failed to score over the last 2:25 of the overtime when Julian Champagnie hit a three to give SJU a 73-72 lead. Champagne lead St. John’s with 19 points while Isaih Moore popped in 13.

Teams Spread Money Line Total Points
Xavier +1.5 (-110) +105 O 155 (-115)
St. John’s -1.5 (-110) -125 U 155 (-105)

Advantage, Xavier

Getting through the first game after such a long stretch with out playing game should help the Musketeers here. Xavier was playing at a high level when COVID protocols eradicated a large amount of their Big East games since Jan. 10. The Musketeers have to think defense first as St. John’s is solid in the transition game and taking opponents off the dribble and breaking down a defense. The Red Storm has an offensive efficiency rating of 44, so trying to keep in front freshman Posh Alexander and Greg Williams going to the basket is a key. The matchup between Xavier big man Zach Freemantle (16.1 ppg, 8.6 rpg) and SJU’s Julian Champagne (19.7 ppg, 7.4 rpg) will be one to watch as both are major matchup issues for each team.

Key Musketeers Stat:

Xavier is fifth in the nation in assists per game with 18.6 as the Musketeers take the lead from free-wheeling guard Paul Scruggs, who averages 1.6 points per game and has dished 90 of the team’s. Scruggs’ assist-to-turnover ratio is sitting at a paltry 2.50 percent.

X-Factor:

Nate Johnson leads the nation in 3-point shooting percentage at 52.6 percent per game as be makes 2.9 per game. Johnson, Scruggs, and KyKy Tandy (38.6% – 3)can surround the perimeter and test the improving Red Storm defense.

Advantage, St. John’s

Posh Alexander’s speed and dribble skills work to open up Julian Champagnie inside as SJU works in tandem in different situations which highlights the skills of different players. Alexander hit double digits in each game of the six-game streak as he averaged 17.5 points per game in those six before scoring only eight vs. Butler. Champagnie leads the Big East in scoring 19.7 points per game and has averaged 19 points and 7.4 boards over his last five games.

Key Red Storm Stat:

Isaih Moore and Rasheem Dunn have been hot as well during this stretch. The 6-10, 205-pound Moore has scored 10.5 ppg and shot 74.3 percent from the field in his last six games. Dunn has scored double figures in five of his last seven as he tallied 15 assists and scored 12.5 points per game in his last two contests.

X-Factor:

St. John’s has been able to open up big leads of about 15 points or more, but those leads dwindle. The key in the six-game winning streak was how the Red Storm put up a fight to win those battles. Wins against Marquette and Providence and then at Villanova were definitions of the improvement of the team.

Winner: St. John’s (-1.5) 75, Xavier 72
Moneyline: St. John’s Red Storm (-125)
Over-Under: Take UNDER 155

The Bets
St. John’s Red Storm -1.5
-110
St. John’s Red Storm
-125
UNDER 155
-105
Sub Categories:
Kenneth Cross / Author

Kenneth Cross is a new entry to The Sports Geek staff as he has 25 years of experience in print, broadcast, and internet sports journalism. Cross is a lover of all sports, but college basketball is his passion. He estimates that he has seen around 1,500 college basketball games - live and in-person - and hopes that grows this season. If you listen to Radio, you have likely heard him on Sundays covering the Carolina Panthers for some 20 years. Now in Tampa Bay, he works as a national radio correspondent.