Here are three things to watch for when St. John's (11-4, 0-3 Big East) plays Providence (13-4, 3-1 Big East) on Wednesday at the Dunkin' Donuts Center in Providence, R.I.
Tipoff is scheduled for 7 p.m., and you can watch the game on Fox Sports 1.
Under pressure: Is mid-January too early to call this a "must-win" game? Perhaps, but the importance of this game should not be underestimated. St. John's desperately needs a win, or else this season could really go off the rails.
The Red Storm's 11-1 start in nonconference play, its best since 1985-86, is a distant memory. The team has lost its first three conference games, including two at home, and as of Monday would miss the NCAA tournament according to ESPN bracketologist Joe Lunardi.
Three of St. John's next four Big East games are on the road. Providence is coming off back-to-back wins against Butler and Georgetown, and it is tied for first place with Villanova.
The Red Storm opened up 0-5 in the conference a year ago, and they were never quite able to dig themselves out of that hole. They are now just two losses away from the same predicament.
Jekyll & Sheed: St. John's is going to have a hard time beating most teams without a solid, if not strong, performance from Rysheed Jordan. He is the team's second leading scorer (13.1 ppg), and its only real threat when it comes dribble-drive penetration.
Jordan missed the team's loss to Butler two Saturdays ago while on a leave of absence from the team, and he played very poorly in the subsequent loss to Villanova, shooting 0-for-6 from the floor and finishing with just two points and three turnovers in 26 minutes.
He's been in double figures in nine of the 13 games he's played in this season. The Red Storm need that, at a minimum, from Jordan on Wednesday.
More on Friars: Providence lost three straight games in late November/early December, to Kentucky, Boston College and Brown -- yes, Brown! But the Friars have recovered nicely since, with only one more defeat, at Marquette on Jan. 3. They are currently ranked No. 13 in the RPI.
The only Big East player averaging more points per game than St. John's guard D'Angelo Harrison (20.6 ppg) is Providence forward LaDontae Henton (21.2 ppg) -- a 6-foot-6 senior who's shooting 47.1 percent from the field and 35.1 percent from 3-point range.
Sophomore point guard Kris Dunn averages 13.6 points, a Big East-best 7.4 assists, and 5.4 rebounds per game. In fact, he's tied for first in all of Division I in assists per game.
As a team, St. John's is tied for fifth in Div. I in blocked shots per game (7.0), but Providence isn't too shabby, either, tied for No. 22 (5.5). Also like the Red Storm, the Friars are not very reliant on the 3-point shot -- 267th (out of 355 schools) in 3-point field goals per game (5.2), and 246th in percentage (31.7). St. John's is ranked 284th (5.0) and 257th (31.3) in those categories, respectively.