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Monday’s slate and what to watch

St. John’s is hosting the four-team MSG Holiday Festival starting Monday. Might not be a very merry Christmas at Steve Lavin’s house, though.

The Johnnies face a respectable Davidson team on Monday (forward Jake Cohen will be a handful for Steve Lavin’s team) and then (likely) gets Northwestern the next night. Chances St. John’s wins both? Awfully slim.

If you’re hosting a tournament this time of year, you do what Oakland does: Fill it with cupcakes. The Grizzlies – now the toast of mid-majordom – get to beat up on Rochester (Mich.), then get the winner of Eastern Michigan-Valpo. That, dear reader, is how to boost your record in-between a series of Big Ten opponents.

Kyrie watch, Game 3: After a nine-day layoff, No. 1 Duke returns to the court … for Elon. At home. Now’s not the time to test Kyrie Irving’s toe.

The long haul: It’s nearly 800 miles across Texas from Nacogdoches to El Paso. (About the distance from NYC to Chicago.) That’s a long haul for Stephen F. Austin, which plays UTEP Monday night. Bussing it across the Lone Star State is an added disadvantage for the Lumberjacks, who remain one of college hoops’ least appreciated programs. (74 wins in the last three seasons.)

(All times ET)

Coppin St. vs. Connecticut at the XL Center, Hartford, Conn., 7 p.m.
Bucknell at Cornell, 7 p.m.
American U. at Mount St. Mary’s, Md., 7 p.m.
Morgan St. at Syracuse, 7 p.m.
Vermont at Fairfield, 7:30 p.m.

Jacksonville at Florida, 1 p.m.
Belmont at Alabama St., 7 p.m.
Thomas More at Coastal Carolina, 7 p.m.
Elon at Duke, 7 p.m.
Towson at Hampton, 7 p.m.
Illinois St. at UNC Wilmington, 7 p.m.
Norfolk St. at Virginia, 7 p.m.
Texas A&M-Corpus Christi at Memphis, 8 p.m.
Xavier, NO at Southern U., 8 p.m.

S. Dakota St. at Cent. Michigan, 7 p.m.
Winthrop at Dayton, 7 p.m.
E. Washington at South Dakota, 8 p.m.
North Dakota at Wis.-Green Bay, 8 p.m.
Jackson St. at Bradley, 8:05 p.m.
W. Illinois at Creighton, 8:05 p.m.

Savannah St. at Arkansas St., 8:05 p.m.
Samford at UTSA, 9 p.m.
Stephen F.Austin at UTEP, 10:30 p.m.

N. Colorado at Colorado St., 9 p.m.
Mayville St. at Utah Valley, 9 p.m.
Centenary at Wyoming, 9 p.m.
Portland St. at Nevada, 10:30 p.m.


Lou Henson Award Tournament
At Rochester, Mich.
First Round
Valparaiso vs. E. Michigan, 5 p.m.
Rochester, Mich. at Oakland, Mich., 7:30 p.m.

MSG Holiday Festival
At New York
First Round
Northwestern vs. St. Francis, N.Y., 7:30 p.m.
Davidson vs. St. John’s, 9:30 p.m.

Want more? I’m also on Twitter @BeyndArcMMiller.