St. John’s basketball ready to return to action following weekend chaos

St. John's basketball (Photo by Porter Binks/Getty Images)
St. John's basketball (Photo by Porter Binks/Getty Images) /
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St. John's basketball
St. John’s basketball (Photo by Porter Binks/Getty Images) /

The St. John’s basketball program is set to return to the court following its weekend chaos.

The first weekend in 2021 was filled with chaos for the St. John’s basketball program, but after things were figured out following a COVID-19 scare caused by testing irregularities, the Red Storm (6-4, 1-3 Big East) are ready to return to the court.

St. John’s will be hitting the road for a two-game trip beginning in Cincinnati to face the Xavier Musketeers (8-2, 1-2 Big East) and closing with No. 7 Creighton (8-2, 4-1 Big East).

Mike Anderson‘s team has not played since December 20 when the Johnnies picked up its first conference win of the season against Georgetown after dropping the first three contests.

Saturday’s scheduled game against DePaul was postponed only minutes before tipoff but St. John’s had been practicing following its return to campus from its holiday break and prior to its temporary pause.

The Red Storm also practiced on Monday and Tuesday after the team received its negative COVID-19 test results.

Xavier was ranked in the Associated Press Top-25 Poll, as high as No. 22, and is still receiving votes despite its back-to-back losses against Creighton and Seton Hall, but praise over its eight wins should come with some pause.

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The Musketeers opened the season with a 50-point throttling of Oakland before winning their next three games against Bradley, Toledo, and Eastern Kentucky by a combined seven points.

A resounding win over Tennessee Tech provided Travis Steele‘s team with energy before winning a road rivalry matchup with Cincinnati, who is now 2-6 on the season.

Xavier then put forth its most impressive effort of the young season with a 22-point demolition at home over Oklahoma and used a buzzer-beating prayer from transfer Adam Kunkel to take down Marquette, also at home.

Since, the X-Men narrowly loss to Creighton on the road and fell by 17 points at home to Seton Hall, a game where the Pirates led by as many as 27 in the second half.

St. John’s basketball has work cut out on defensive end

Wednesday night could be the perfect storm for Xavier as the Musketeers have a very potent offense while the St. John’s defense has been no where close to the standards of Mike Anderson.

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Xavier has three double-digit scores in Zach Freemantle, who hit the game winning shot against the Johnnies last season at Madison Square Garden, star guard Paul Scruggs, and Nate Johnson.

St. John’s allows 80.3 points per game while Xavier averages 80.2 points per game.

In order for the Johnnies to come away with a road victory, the Red Storm must find a way to accomplish these three things.