St. John’s Red Storm vs. Sacred Heart Pioneers Pick & Prediction DECEMBER 6th 2023

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As St. John’s continues the start of its new era under coach Rick Pitino, the Red Storm will try for a fourth straight win when they host Sacred Heart on Wednesday night in Queens, N.Y.

St. John’s most recently beat host West Virginia 79-73 on Friday night. Sacred Heart hasn’t played since Saturday, when its losing streak hit three games as the Pioneers fell to visiting Boston University, 70-49.

The game against Sacred Heart will mark just the third game at Carnesecca Arena this season for St. John’s (5-2), which hired Pitino in March following his three-season stint at Iona.

Pitino said upgrading the nonconference slate was essential for St. John’s, which hasn’t reached the postseason since Chris Mullin’s final team fell in a “First Four” game in the 2019 NCAA Tournament.

The Red Storm’s final three nonleague games this year are against rivals at a trio of local arenas. St. John’s is slated to take on Boston College at Barclays Center before facing Fordham at Madison Square Garden and Hofstra at UBS Arena. Fordham made the Atlantic 10 semifinals last year for the first time since 2006 while Hofstra reached the second round of the NIT.

“We’re never going to open up with four teams we should beat,” Pitino said after St. John’s took third place at the Charleston Classic last month.

Joel Soriano is averaging 17.3 points and 10.1 rebounds for the Red Storm while Chris Ludlum is at 10.7 points and 8.3 rebounds per game. Daniss Jenkins (11.9) and Jordan Dingle (11.1) are also scoring in double figures.

Sacred Heart (4-5) is entering a challenging stretch of its own schedule. The Pioneers, who are preparing for their final season in the Northeast Conference, are slated to visit the Big East’s Providence on Dec. 16.

Sacred Heart, which is joining the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference in 2024-25, was picked first in the nine-team NEC in the preseason. The Pioneers haven’t reached the NEC title game since 2008.

“We know it will be a challenging season, but we are ready to prove why we were picked first,” Sacred Heart coach Anthony Latina told the school’s website in the preseason.

Nico Galette leads Sacred Heart with 15.3 points per game while Alex Sobel is averaging 10.4 points and a team-high 7.6 rebounds per game. Tanner Thomas is averaging 10.8 points per game.

–Field Level Media

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