St. John’s guard Shamorie Ponds blows into his hands during the first half of the team’s NCAA college basketball game against Marquette on Tuesday, Jan. 1, 2019, in New York. (AP Photo/Kevin Hagen).
St. John’s guard Shamorie Ponds blows into his hands during the first half of the team’s NCAA college basketball game against Marquette on Tuesday, Jan. 1, 2019, in New York. (AP Photo/Kevin Hagen).|Associated Press
NCAAB

NCAAB: St. John’s is No. 24, but we like unranked Villanova

Shamorie Ponds leads a dynamic Red Storm offense against a tough Nova D.

Ben Geier

Ben Geier

24 St. John’s @ VILLANOVA (-6)
Pick: Villanova (-6)

It’s hard to believe that the royalty of college basketball is outside of the rankings for a fourth week in a row. The last time that Villanova had been unranked was during the 2012-2013 season.

The Wildcats have been riding a three-game winning streak. Seniors Phil Booth and Eric Paschall lead the young group in most offensive categories and Coach Jay Wright is starting to get the Cats to claw on defense -- they’ve been giving up an average of 65.7 PPG which is good enough for 56th in the nation.

St. John’s has been one of the most surprising teams in the nation under coach Chris Mullin. Junior Shamorie Ponds, fresh off being named Big East Player of the Week has been averaging 20.4 PPG, 6 rebounds and 4.7 assists. The offense is averaging 84.7 PPG which is good for 18th in the nation.

The Red Storm have been 6-8-1 ATS this season. They’re looking for their first Tournament run since the 2013-2014 season. The Wildcats have been creeping back closer to . . . being the WIldcats. They’re 9-6-0 against the spread this season.

I expect Villanova to be disciplined on defense and the road environment may prove overwhelming for the Red Storm. Nova should be back in the Top 25 very soon.

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