St. John’s Red Storm vs. Georgetown Hoyas Pick & Prediction MARCH 9th 2024

Rick Pitino’s lengthy rant about the state of his team following a disheartening loss to Seton Hall drew all sorts of criticism.

The viral comments produced another effect of putting St. John’s back into the NCAA Tournament bubble. Pitino concludes his first regular season back in the Big East on Saturday afternoon when his latest team hosts Georgetown at New York’s Madison Square Garden.

The Red Storm (18-12, 10-9 Big East) are on a four-game winning streak since blowing a 12-point halftime lead to Seton Hall on Feb. 18 in Elmont, N.Y. and enter this weekend with a NET ranking of 37. After the loss, Pitino complained about various players by name and then apologized three days later after St. John’s earned a 90-85 win at Georgetown.

“That was the truth at the time,” said guard Daniss Jenkins, who played for Pitino last season at Iona. “So it was on us to come together and challenge each other to change that.”

The Red Storm then beat a ranked opponent in then-No. 15 Creighton to earn a crucial Quad One victory and head into Saturday coming off blowout wins over Butler and DePaul. Following a lengthy break, the Red Storm cruised to a 104-77 win against DePaul on Tuesday behind 19 points apiece from Jordan Dingle and Chris Ledlum, a pair of transfers from the Ivy League.

The Red Storm equaled their most points in a Big East game, shot 60.3 percent from the field and are shooting 52 percent during the winning streak.

Georgetown (9-21, 2-17) is concluding its third straight 20-loss season and is 4-54 in league play over the past three seasons.

The Hoyas are on a three-game skid since eking out a 77-76 win at DePaul on Feb. 24. Their 71-58 home loss to Providence on Tuesday marked their 11th double-digit conference loss in coach Ed Cooley’s first season.

“This is the pain of growth,” Cooley said. “This is the pain of change and the pain of transition, right? But we’ll be OK. It’s not my first rodeo. We’re going to be more than OK here at Georgetown.”

Jayden Epps scored 16 points Tuesday when the Hoyas shot 35.1 percent for their 10th game under 40 percent in conference play. Epps is Georgetown’s leading scorer at 17.9 points and finished with 31 in the first meeting with the Red Storm on Feb. 21.

–Field Level Media

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