Tuesday, the Big East basketball schedule was released and there are certain things that are unique to St. John’s slate of games this year.
For the St. John’s Red Storm, Big East play has been a rough spot for them over the last two years. Since Chris Mullin took over as the head coach, the team is 8-28 in 36 games within the league. This includes a 1-17 record back in 2015-16.
Yesterday, the Big East schedule was released and there is an oddity with this year’s schedule. Normally, the biggest advantage St. John’s has is that they play some of their big games at Madison Square Garden. However, as Zach Braziller of the New York Post tweeted, they don’t get as many conference games this year at MSG due to scheduling conflicts.
MSG source on St John's: Less available dates bc of Big Ten tourney and Grammys. Nothing more than that #sjubb
— Zach Braziller (@NYPost_Brazille) September 12, 2017
The only three Big East games at MSG this year are Villanova (January 13, 8 p.m ET), Georgetown (January 9., 6:30 p.m, FS1) and Seton Hall (February 24, 12 p.m, FOX). Outside of those games, the Johnnies will play their other conference home games at Carnesecca Arena.
While the Red Storm don’t get the big stage of MSG that often this year, this is an opportunity for them to establish their on-campus arena as a true home court advantage. If the fans and students can pack the arena for some of the big games like Butler and Xavier, that could lead to establishing the arena as a tough place to play going forward.
When you look at the schedule, there are a couple things that stand out. For one, St. John’s has a tough three game stretch between late January and early February. That stretch includes hosting Xavier (January 30) and going to Villanova (February 7), with the big matchup with Duke scheduled in between (February 3).
Those games are challenging. But if the Red Storm can get at least one of those games, that could boost a potential postseason resume. If not, the schedule gets a lot tougher at the end of the year because of travel.
Due to the aforementioned scheduling conflicts, four of the team’s final seven games are on the road. This includes home games between Marquette and Seton Hall separated by two weeks. They will actually play Marquette on February 10 at home and February 21 on the road, with a trip to DePaul on Valentine’s Day.
Last year, St. John’s had one big win in the conference when they beat a ranked Butler team at home. As far as their losses, 10 of the 11 conference losses were by double digits.
With the team bringing back their two top guards (Shamorie Ponds and Marcus LoVett) and new transfers such as guard Justin Simon and forward Marvin Clark, St. John’s should see a better result in Big East play this season. It will, however, all depend on how the team gels in non-conference play.
Overall, if St. John’s can play well in the non-conference without any bad losses, then they should be in a good position once conference play begins with a home game against Providence on December 28 at Carnesecca Arena.