Preview: St. John's

No. 7 Notre Dame (10-2) travels to Madison Square Garden today for a matchup with St. John's (9-4) for the Irish's second Big East contest of the year. The game can be seen at 2 p.m. on ESPNU.

Kyle McAlarney saw his first basketball game at Madison Square Garden as a 16-year old when he watched J.J. Redick and Duke defeat Texas and the feeling of the building never left him.

A native of Staten Island, McAlarney admitted that it was quite an honor to get the chance to play in the Garden as a collegiate player, but unfortunately for McAlarney and his fellow seniors, The World's Most Famous Arena has not been kind to the Irish.

In six games over the last three seasons at the Garden, Notre Dame has won just twice, a mark that includes a 1-3 record in the Big East Tournament.

McAlarney did not score a point when the Irish lost to Georgetown in the conference tournament when he was a freshman and he missed all three games at the Garden when he was suspended as a sophomore. Last year, he scored 18 points in a regular season win over Kansas State and 20 in the Irish's loss to Marquette in the Big East Tournament.

McAlarney's next chance to perform at the Garden comes today when seventh-ranked Notre Dame (10-2) travels to New York to play St. John's (9-4) in the second league game for both squads.

The Red Storm opened conference play with a 75-54 loss at Providence on New Year's Eve and come into today's matchup on a three-game losing streak having lost to Virginia Tech and Miami before the Friars. The game at Providence was the first true road game of the season for the Red Storm.

The season started well for St. John's as the Red Storm won nine of their first 10 games, but none of their wins came against quality opponents and they got devastating news following a loss to Boston College in the third game of the season.

St. John's learned that a torn peroneal tendon would keep its best player, Anthony Mason Jr., sidelined for the season. Mason led the Storm with 14.0 points per game last season and had the same average through three games this year.

Without Mason, a young team got even younger. Sophomore guard-forward Paris Horne leads St. John's with 12.9 points while sophomore guard-forward D.J. Kennedy is averaging 12.5 points and sophomore forward Sean Evans is scoring 10.6 per.

Kennedy also leads St. John's with 7.1 rebounds while Evans is second on the squad with a 6.6 average. Sophomore point guard Malik Boothe leads the Storm with five assists per contest.

St. John's has struggled to score, especially of late. The Red Storm are averaging just 71.1 points per game and have put up an average of 60.5 in their last four outings.

Meanwhile, Notre Dame has been held under 70 points just twice all season and is in the top 10 nationally for scoring, averaging 83.9 points per contest and will be coming off a 92-point explosion in the Big East opening win over DePaul.

The Irish will host Georgetown on Monday night in their third Big East game of the season. The Hoyas host third-ranked Pittsburgh at noon today (ESPN) after defeating second-ranked Connecticut on Monday.

Notre Dame head coach Mike Brey has stressed the importance of any road win in conference and even with an ESPN showdown with Georgetown looming on Monday, the Irish understand that they cannot look past anyone.


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