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Marquette Basketball Big East Tournament Preview Primer: vs #10 St. John's

Get yourself all set for today's Big East tournament opening round game.

Anthony Gruppuso-USA TODAY Sports

#7 Marquette Golden Eagles (19-12, 8-10) vs #10 St. John's Red Storm (8-24, 1-17)

Time: approx. 8:30pm Central
Location: Madison Square Garden in New York, NY
Television: FS1
Streaming: Fox Sports Go
Radio: 540 ESPN
Live Stats: GameTracker

Marquette Stat Leaders

Points: Henry Ellenson, 16.8 ppg
Rebounds: Henry Ellenson, 9.8 rpg
Assists: Traci Carter, 4.7 apg

Marquette Injury Note: Matt Heldt has missed the last four games with a sprained knee.  Given that he was only averaging 5 minutes a game, I wouldn't necessarily expect him to hurry a comeback this season.

St. John's Stat Leaders

Points: Durand Johnson, 12.0 ppg
Rebounds: Yankuba Sima, 5.9 rpg
Assists: Federico Mussini, 2.2 apg

Current KenPom Rankings

Marquette: #101
St. John's: #236
KenPom Predictions: Marquette has a 75% chance of victory, with a predicted score of 76-69.

Since Last We Met: St. John's did not lose all of their games.  This is a notable achievement, because SJU had lost all of their Big East games heading into both previous meetings with Marquette.  In fact, they actually lost their last three non-conference games, too.  Anyway, the Johnnies beat DePaul at home, and hell, they beat their brakes off, getting an 80-65 victory.  It's the only Big East win of the year for St. John's, so that is one hell of a way for DePaul to DePaul this season.

What's At Stake: Obviously, the winner advances to the Big East quarterfinals against #2 seed Xavier, and that moves the winner one step closer to crashing their way into the NCAA tournament with the Big East's at-large bid.  That's the only option for the NCAA's for Marquette, though.  In fact, if the Golden Eagles would like to play in the NIT, it's imperative that they win this game.  As of the end of last night's games, NYC Buckets has Marquette either two or three lines away from the NIT cut line.  There's still a number of one bid leagues yet to crown their champs, and thus a number of regular season champs that may need to cash in their autobids to the NIT.  Marquette can't afford to lose a game to a team as bad as St. John's at this point of the season.

St. John's Last 10 Games: 1-9, with four straight losses.

Marquette Last 10 Games: 5-5, with losses in two of their last three games.

All Time Series: Marquette leads, 17-10.

Current Streak: Marquette won the season series to give them a two game winning streak against St. John's.

Henry Ellenson Watch: As Paint Touches helpfully pointed out, Ellenson essentially has every notable freshman record.  He's missing out on the shooting percentages, the three point totals, assists, blocks, and steals, and he's actually second blocks.

Ellenson has 304 rebounds on the season, which has him just 15 away from tying David Boone for the 10th best season ever.  His 47 blocks are eight away from the mark for the 10th best season all time.

Traci Carter Watch: Carter's 146 helpers are the third most assists by a freshman in Marquette history. This is a big deal, because he has essentially no shot at getting to second place (Dominic James, 167), much less the freshman record (Tony Miller, 221). He has the fourth most steals by a freshman with 47, and he needs three more to tie Dominic James for third.

Luke Fischer Watch: The junior from Germantown is tied with Dwayne (Not The Rock) Johnson for the fifth most blocks by a Marquette junior at 47.  Faisal Abraham is next on the juniors list at 58, but he's just eight blocks away from moving into the top 10 in a season all time.

Haanif Cheatham Watch: Cheatham has moved up to the 2nd most free throws made by a freshman and the fifth most freshman free throw attempts. I feel like this is largely being overlooked due to Henry Ellenson already breaking both of those records.  Yes, that's right, Cheatham has passed every other freshman in made FTs except for Ellenson.

He does have a shot at breaking the freshman record for free throw percentage, as he's currently shooting 81.1% and Damon Key's record is 81.6%.  Cheatham has 358 points on the season, leaving him alone with the seventh most by a Marquette freshman.  Bo Ellis is up next at 378 points.  Cheatham has the 10th most made field goals by a freshman, but he's still 21 FGAs away from that top 10.  He needs two made threes to tie Anthony Pieper for the 10th most by a freshman.  Cheatham is now tied with Michael Wilson for the 10th most assists by a freshman, and he needs one more steal for the freshman top 10 there.

Duane Wilson Watch: Wilson has the eighth most made three pointers amongst Marquette sophomores with 52.  Mark Anglavar is up next at 53. His 151 three point attempts rank as the eighth most for Marquette sophomores with Darius Johnson-Odom coming up next at 153.

Follow Along On Twitter:

@MarquetteMBB - Official Marquette account
@StJohnsBBall - Official St. John's account
@AnonymousEagle - Hey, that's us!
@rumbleSBN - SB Nation's St. John's site
@becb_sbn - SB Nation's Big East site
@Matt_Velazquez - The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel MU beat reporter