Utah Utes vs. St. John’s Red Storm Pick & Prediction NOVEMBER 19th 2023


There have been good stretches for St. John’s and Utah so far in the Charleston Classic.

Only one of them will leave Charleston, S.C., with a winning mark in the event, however.

The Red Storm and Utes meet Sunday in the third-place game.

Utah (3-1) lost Friday’s second semifinal to No. 6 Houston, pulling even in the second half before fading in a 76-66 loss. The Utes had a comeback victory against Wake Forest in the opening round.

Utah coach Craig Smith said sometimes his Utes have the look that “we were going to find a way to win this game.” Though that didn’t happen against Houston, it’s a good trait for a team.

St. John’s (2-2) defeated North Texas 53-52 before falling to Dayton in the semifinal 88-81.

“We’ll get on to the next game,” Red Storm coach Rick Pitino said. “Here, there are no weak teams.”

Pitino is largely concerned about the Red Storm’s defense, so expect that to have been addressed on Saturday, when no games were played in the tournament. St. John’s gave up 89 points to Michigan earlier in the season.

“You can’t beat a Dayton, you can’t beat a Utah, you can’t beat a Houston unless you can match their defense,” Pitino said. “Guard people, pay attention to the scouting. It’s all about defense.”

Pitino called it a matter of establishing better habits for his players.

“They want to win,” Pitino said. “It’s going to take time.”

The Red Storm rely heavily on offensive rebounding, pulling in 17.8 boards per game at that end of the court.

Utah was without center Keba Keita because of an undisclosed injury in the semifinal.

This will be the 15th meeting between the schools, though the first since 1977. The Utes have won the past two meetings.

–Field Level Media

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