College basketball schedule: Syracuse visits St. John's in old Big East battle

Rich Barnes

Madison Square Garden will be a sea of orange and red on Sunday as a classic Big East rivalry is rekindled.

Their teams might be in separate conferences, but fans in Syracuse and Queens are both looking forward to Sunday when Syracuse visits St. John's. Though it's now a non-conference matchup at Madison Square Garden, the Orange and Red Storm faced each other countless times over the last three decades as members of the Big East.

Now, after the latest wave of conference realignment, games like this will be rare. Sure, on paper, this one doesn't mean a lot. Syracuse is probably one of the best teams in the country regardless of what happens, and though it'd be a huge win for St. John's, there's no shame in a loss. But greater implications won't matter when these two teams take the court. Cheap tickets have been hard to come by, and for at least one afternoon, the Garden will be rocking again with a classic rivalry.

Here's a look at Sunday's full Top 25 schedule. All times Eastern:

No. 2 Syracuse at St. John's (Noon, Fox Sports 1)

Once fans get past how weird it is to see these two teams playing in mid-December, they might realize that this could be a pretty good game. The Red Storm are loaded with talent, hungry for a signature win after a couple missed chances. Forward Jakarr Sampson and guard D'Angelo Harrison can make the case to be among the top players in the Big East at their positions. They'll go up against the storied Syracuse 2-3 zone that has frustrated opponents throughout the Jim Boeheim era. This year, the Orange are led by ACC preseason Player of the Year C.J. Fair.

La Salle vs. No. 10 Villanova (2:30 p.m., Fox Sports 1)

Villanova's local Big Five tour continues on Sunday when the Wildcats host La Salle in the second game of Fox Sports' Big East doubleheader. Villanova has gone from unranked to top-10 with its 9-0 start that has included wins over Kansas and Iowa. Meanwhile La Salle has been inconsistent after last year's run to the Sweet 16. The Explorers have won their last two, but have also lost to Morgan State and Northern Iowa. JayVaughn Pinkston and James Bell lead the Wildcats, while sharpshooter Ryan Arcidiacono is still looking to find some consistency.

Western Michigan vs. No. 24 Missouri (7 p.m., ESPNU)

The Tigers round out the trio of ranked unbeatens in action on Sunday with a home game against Western Michigan. Missouri's most recent triumph was over then-No. 18 UCLA, and the Tigers have emerged as a real threat to Kentucky and Florida in the SEC. Jordan Clarkson has scored 21 or more points in each of his last five games, a span in which he has shot 56 percent from the field. The Broncos counter with their own high-scoring guard. David Brown is averaging just over 20 points per game, but is coming off a tough 3-of-15 shooting day in a loss to Northwestern last week.

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