Here are three things to watch in Sunday afternoon's game between St. John's (11-8, 4-5 in Big East) and No. 3 Duke (19-1, 6-1 in ACC) at Madison Square Garden.
Tip-off is at 1 p.m., and the game will air nationally on CBS.
SLOW DOWN! St. John's tried to run with Georgetown, one of the best offensive teams in the country, on Wednesday night -- and it cost them. The Red Storm could only keep up for the first 15 minutes -- after that, the Hoyas demolished them.
Duke is No. 4 in the country in points per game (85.7) and No. 20 in field goal percentage (48.1) -- St. John's can't keep up with them either. Look for Steve Lavin's crew to try to slow the pace -- passing the ball around the perimeter in the first 20-25 seconds of the shot clock, unless there is a great fast-break opportunity. If St. John's comes out pushing the pace, they are in trouble.
CLOSE OUT! St. John's must get in Duke's shooters' faces at the 3-point arc, especially Nolan Smith and Kyle Singler. Duke is No. 11 in 3-point field goals per game (9.1) and No. 16 in 3-point percentage (40.1). And the Red Storm have had trouble against 3-point shooters all season long -- currently they are ranked No. 302 in 3-point field goal defense, out of 336 D-1 schools.
CRISIS POINT: This is the final game of a brutal eight-game stretch for St. John's, facing eight straight AP Top 25 teams -- and this will be the toughest test of them all. St. John's has lost five of their past six, capped off by a brutal performance in Washington, D.C., losing by 25.
The players were rather despondent after that Georgetown loss -- let's see how their body language looks in today's game. Asking St. John's to win this one is probably too much -- but it is critical that they hang in with the Blue Devils and do not get blown out at home.