St. John's men's basketball building a challenging schedule for 2014-15

Maddie Meyer

St. John's will once again play both at Madison Square Garden and at the Barclays Center next season.

Judging from Jon Rothstein's tweet this morning, and a report earlier this week, the Red Storm are beefing up the 2014-15 schedule with some solid name programs - both from the major conference ranks and the mid-major ranks.

Rothstein tweeted:

Fans who were annoyed by the presence of Longwood, Bucknell and Youngstown State - and weak major conference foes in Penn State and Georgia Tech - will have a little more to get excited about - and buy tickets for.

The Red Storm will be tested early and will need to beat the lower-level teams between them and Madison Square Garden in the preseason NIT to get to the expected Gonzaga/ Minnesota/ Georgia group - meaningful games will be on the slate from the beginning of the season.

And with word that heavyweight Duke will be on the schedule at Madison Square Garden, and word that St. John's is in the preseason NIT, St. John's seems to not only be building a slate that will put fans' fannies in the seats, but a schedule that could be the decider between the NIT and the NCAA if the team does not dominate a Big East that may begin the season with only one ranked team.

No, none of these teams went to the second weekend of this year's NCAA Tournament.

But St. John's has a chance to show what the deep backcourt of Rysheed Jordan, D`Angelo Harrison, Jamal Branch and Phil Greene IV can do with the returned Chris Obekpa and more time for Sir`Dominic Pointer - plus Christian Jones, Felix Balamou, new recruit big man Adonis Delarosa, and other recruits that may join the program.

The games we know so far.

Team
W
L
KenPom Rank
Season Finish? Conference
Gonzaga Bulldogs
29
7
22
NCAAT 2nd Round West Coast
The always-solid Zags return Przemek Karnowski, Kevin Pangos - and two Big East transfers in Angel Nunez and Gerard Coleman for next year's preseason NIT.
Georgia Bulldogs
20
14
72
NIT 2nd Round Southeastern
Mark Fox hopes he has the right combination with his defensive-minded Bulldogs team, who played St. John's at the Garden in 2009. They return for the preseason NIT.
Minnesota Golden Gophers
25
13
48
NIT (Champ) Big Ten
Richard Pitino's team graduates one impact senior and should be a difficult matchup in the preseason NIT.
Long Beach State 49ers
15
17
148
Big West 2nd Round Big West
Went 10-6 in Big West Conference with experienced coach Dan Monson; have talented backcourt including former UCLA wing Tyler Lamb.
Saint Mary's Gaels
23
12
74
NIT 2nd Round West Coast
Lost in second round of NIT; graduate a number of impact seniors but always find a way to be effective under Randy Bennett.
Duke Blue Devils
26
9
13
NCAAT Round of 64 Atlantic Coast
With another class filled with HS All-Americans, plus experience in the backcourt, Duke continues to be dangerous.
@ Syracuse Orange
28
6
16
NCAAT Round of 32 Atlantic Coast
St. John's returns to the Carrier Dome to play Canada's New York team, who lost in the second round of the NCAA Tourney, and lose a bunch of talent.
Tulane Green Wave
17
17
282
CBIT 1st Round American
Young team moving into the American Conference, lost to Princeton by one; coach Ed Conroy is in talks to extend contract.
CBIT - College Basketball Invitational Tournament
NCAAT - National Collegiate Athletic Association Tournament
NIT - National Invitational Tournament

Solid slate? Or do you think this year's was better? What game are you most excited to see?

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