The St. John’s Red Storm and Marquette Golden Eagles meet Saturday at Madison Square Garden at 2:00 p.m. This will be one of those classic late-season matchups in college basketball that pits a team eyeing a conference title against a squad trying to fight its way into the NCAA tournament in front of its home crowd.
Marquette still has a real chance at a Big East regular season title, tied for second with Louisville at 12-4 in conference play, a game back of Georgetown. The Golden Eagles visit Rutgers Tuesday and St. John’s Saturday.
St. John’s sits 11th in the conference at 8-8, with an overall record of 16-12, in need of resume-boosting wins to bolster its tournament case, but with those opportunities Tuesday at No. 24 Notre Dame and Saturday against Marquette.
Marquette is led by Vander Blue, a junior guard averaging 14 points per game. Davante Gardner is a massive 6-foot-8, 290-pound junior forward averaging 11.9 points and 4.9 rebounds per contest.
St. John’s is led by D’Angelo Harrison’s 17.8 points per game, by will be without him the rest of the season due to a suspension handed down by head coach Steve Lavin. The Johnnies lost to Providence without Harrison Saturday, 62-59 and have lost four of their last five games. Trying to make the big dance without Harrison will likely prove a difficult task.
Jakarr Sampson will have to pick up some of the slack. The freshman forward is averaging 15 points and 6.6 rebounds per game and tied a season-high with 22 points against Providence.
While the Red Storm has been struggling of late, the Golden Eagles come in on fire with wins in four of their last five. That includes wins over then No. 16 Pittsburgh, then No. 8 Syracuse and then No. 21 Notre Dame.
This is the first meeting between Marquette and St. John’s this year and the Golden Eagles cruised to an 83-64 win last year. St. John’s took the only meeting between the two teams in 2010, 80-68.
There are plenty of tickets available for this pivotal Big East game, so buy your tickets now and don’t miss the action.