Cincinnati.com
Men's College Basketball
Preview
St. John's at Xavier
When: 8:30 PM ET, Wednesday, January 17, 2018
Where: Cintas Center, Cincinnati, Ohio

No. 12 Xavier knew it didn't put forth its best effort in a lopsided loss to powerhouse Villanova - and it subsequently took its frustrations out on Creighton in its very next game. The Musketeers will look to continue building momentum ahead of its rematch with the Wildcats as they host St. John's on Wednesday night.

Road losses to Providence and Villanova brought Xavier's climb up the national rankings to a screeching halt - but the Musketeers used a return home and extra motivation to thoroughly trounce the Bluejays 92-70. I think we played with a little incentive," Xavier head coach Chris Mack told reporters after the game. "I think we played with our backs against the wall." Xavier has undoubtedly marked Villanova's Feb. 17 visit on its calendar, but there is business to take care of first - starting with a visit from a Red Storm team still looking for its first Big East win of the season. St. John's is coming off its own defeat at the hands of the vaunted Wildcats, but made a game of it before ultimately dropping a 78-71 decision.

TV: 8:30 p.m. ET, CBS Sports Network.

ABOUT ST. JOHN'S (10-8, 0-6 Big East): The Red Storm hasn't produced nearly enough offense to keep up in the Big East, averaging a conference-low 73.1 points per game on 42.2 percent shooting; they also rank last in the Big East in 3-point success rate (31.3 percent). Team scoring leader Shamorie Ponds (20.1 points per game) erupted for 37 points in the loss to the Wildcats but went 0-for-6 from beyond the arc - the continuation of what has been a dreadful showing from Ponds, who enters Wednesday having converted just 20-of-108 3-point attempts. Forward Justin Simon averages 10.8 points and a team-best 7.2 rebounds, but he was held to seven points and three boards in the Villanova defeat.

ABOUT XAVIER (16-3, 4-2): Musketeers leading scorer Trevon Bluiett (19.2 ppg) led the charge against Creighton, pouring in 24 points - one more than he had combined in the losses to Providence and Villanova. Bluiett continues to be one of the top free-throw shooters in the conference - coming into Wednesday's game ranked fifth at 81.8 percent - but has been oddly off his game in that regard, making just 4-of-12 foul shots over his past three games. J.P. Macura (12.4 ppg) is the only other Xavier player to average double figures in scoring but has been ice cold of late, scoring just 24 points on 8-of-27 from the field and 2-of-12 from long range over his previous three outings.

TIP-INS

1. The Musketeers pull down 29.4 defensive rebounds per game, ranking inside the top 10 nationally.

2. St. John's averages 6.3 blocked shots per game, fifth most in Division I.

3. Ponds shot 37.5 percent from deep as a freshman last season.

PREDICTION: Xavier 84, St. John's 69
Stats and Records
Team Comparison
  W/L Strk Home Away Neutral Day Night Conf
St. John's 10-8 L6 6-4 0-2 4-2 5-4 5-4 0-6
Xavier 16-3 W1 12-0 3-2 1-1 6-2 10-1 4-2
Last Meeting
St. John's Xavier
Date Away Home Pts Reb FG% Pts Reb FG%
1/29/17 XAV 82 SJU 77 77 20 43.6 82 41 47.4
Player Stats
Previous Matchup
Points Player Total FG% FTM
St. John's S. Ponds 23 42.9 11
Xavier T. Bluiett 21 58.3 4
Rebounds Player Total Off Def
St. John's T. Owens 6 1 5
Xavier T. Bluiett 10 1 9
Assists Player  
St. John's M. Ellison 6
Xavier E. Sumner 7
Season
Points Player Total FG% FTM
St. John's S. Ponds 342 39.9 84
Xavier T. Bluiett 364 45.4 81
Rebounds Player Total Off Def
St. John's J. Simon 129 30 99
Xavier K. Kanter 106 28 78
Assists Player  
St. John's J. Simon 83
Xavier Q. Goodin 104
Quickchart Matchup
blue bar St. John's Off vs  red bar Xavier Defense
blue bar 73.2 Points For
red bar 72.9 Points Against
blue bar 42.0 FG%
red bar 40.9 FG%
blue bar 32.6 Reb
red bar 29.6 Reb
red bar Xavier Off vs  blue bar St. John's Defense
red bar 84.9 Points For
blue bar 70.4 Points Against
red bar 49.9 FG%
blue bar 40.7 FG%
red bar 37.1 Reb
blue bar 36.4 Reb