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St. John's vs. G'Town: just like old times?

St. John's University's Dwight Hardy attempts a three-pointer.

St. John's University's Dwight Hardy attempts a three-pointer. (Dec. 7, 2010) Credit: Patrick E. McCarthy

In the 1980s, St. John's vs. Georgetown was always a prime time matchup, especially at Madison Square Garden.

St. John's (9-3, 2-0 Big East), after winning its first two conference games, has made this rivalry relevant again.

It won't be exactly like the 1980s, with the likes of Chris Mullin, Walter Berry and Mark Jackson squaring off against the likes of Patrick Ewing, Fred Brown and Reggie Williams, but the 13th-ranked Hoyas (12-2, 1-1) will be the toughest test to date for Steve Lavin's crew. 

Tip-off is set for 7:00 tonight and will be broadcast on ESPN2.

It won't be easy for St. John's. Georgetown's backcourt trio of Austin Freeman (19.2 ppg), Jason Clark (13.8 ppg) and Chris Wright (13.1 ppg) are among the best in the country.

The way St. John's perimeter force of Dwight Hardy, D.J. Kennedy and Paris Horne have played, you have to like the Red Storm's chances.

"It's going to be a good matchup. They have some good guards and we have some good guards," said Hardy, who's averging 21.6 points per game over his last six contests. "To play in front of our fans and family at Madison Square Garden, the World's Most Famous Arena, is a privilege and I can't wait for it to happen."

What will a win do for St. John's?

First and foremost, it will go a long way in convincing the basketball world that the Red Storm's climb back up the ladder is legitimate. It will also give them a 3-0 start in the conference and a leg up over a lot of their Big East brethren.

Conference heavyweights such as Syracuse, Villanova, Connecticut, Pittsburgh and Louisville are on their way to dominating seasons. But the Red Storm, based on their start, could certainly sneak up on the rest of the league and fight for a finish in the top seven or eight. 

Could the Red Storm crack the top 25? Beating Georgetown will help, but to secure a spot in the AP poll, the Red Storm will need to trip up No.15 Notre Dame in South Bend on Thursday night.


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