Here are three things to watch for when St. John's (4-4, 0-0 Big East) takes on Detroit (3-6, 0-2 Horizon) Monday night at Calihan Hall in Detroit, Mich.
Tip-off will be shortly after 7 p.m., and the game will air on ESPN2.
SPECIAL NIGHT: ESPN color commentator Dick Vitale will be honored before the game -- Detroit is renaming the court at Calihan Hall after Vitale, who coached at the school from 1973 to 1977. Vitale had a 78-30 record in four seasons, leading them to the 1977 NCAA tournament before becoming the coach of the NBA's Detroit Pistons in 1978.
The game will also be a homecoming for St. John's freshman Sir'Dominic Pointer, who was born in the metropolitan Detroit area. "It feels good to be heading home," Pointer said on Sunday. "I'll get to see a few family members, see a lot of people I haven't seen in a long time."
LESSON LEARNED? St. John's will be trying to snap a two-game losing streak and pick up its first road win of the season. Its first attempt at a road win was an 81-59 thumping at the hands of top-ranked Kentucky in Lexington last Thursday -- it will be very interesting to see how the young Red Storm respond to that loss, and the experience playing in front of more than 24,000 fans at Rupp Arena.
In particular, keep an eye on guards Nurideen Lindsey and D'Angelo Harrison, who were St. John's top two scorers heading into the Kentucky game (a combined 28.7 ppg) but scored just six between them against the Wildcats. St. John's needs double-figure scoring totals from both players to beat quality opponents this season.
THE OPPONENT: Detroit was picked to finish second in the Horizon League behind only Butler, but has struggled out of the gate. The Titans are 3-6, and two of their three wins came against non-Division I competition. They did give fellow Big East squad Notre Dame a tough game before losing 59-53 in South Bend on Nov. 14.
Detroit has several capable scorers, led by 6-foot-6 senior shooting guard Chase Simon (16.1 ppg) and 6-foot-1 sophomore point guard Ray McCallum Jr., the son of head coach Ray McCallum. But the Titans lost starting power forward Nick Minnerath for the season with a knee injury after just five games.
McCallum & Co. are also missing two other expected key contributors right now -- 6-foot-10 senior center Eli Holman is currently on a leave of absence, and 6-foot-4 senior guard Chris Blake is suspended for the first semester for a violation of team rules. Both averaged in double figures in scoring a season ago, and Holman led the league in rebounding.
Detroit is scoring 74.9 points per game as a team, but is giving up 71.2, which ranks them No. 266 in Division I. The Titans are also allowing opponents to shoot 37 percent from beyond the 3-point arc, which places them No. 274 in the country.