St. John's has a middle-of-pack nonconference strength of schedule

Patrick McDermott - Getty Images

It's the time of year where sports entertainment outlets (like us) slice up the coming year as we eagerly await the ribbon-cutting on the new season. So we get a look at St. John's schedule strength. Do you think the schedule's tough enough?

ESPN took the time to rank the Big East's non-conference schedule strength... and they found the Johnnies' schedule uninspiring.

Toughness scale: 4 -- The Red Storm could get a bump in Charleston, where they open with the home-team Cougars and could draw Murray State in the second round and maybe Baylor or Colorado down the road. So that’s not awful. But otherwise Steve Lavin has a manageable -- if not entirely easy -- reentry into his coaching career, as does his young roster.

The Charleston Classic means a lot to this schedule. So does the RPI boost the Red Storm should get from likely conference championship contenders in UNC-Asheville and Detroit. (More on RPI boosting from Sports Illustrated)

NCAA Tournament contenders Louisville, Marquette, and Georgetown all rated 8's. And those schedules befit those teams with high aspirations; only Marquette may come to regret their tough schedule, while the underrated* Georgetown has much to gain.

South Florida, Seton Hall, Pittsburgh, Providence, and DePaul all rated lower than St. John's. And Rutgers received a 1 for the warm-butter-soft home-cooked schedule that features Iona as the likely toughest team.

* They're not ranked by everybody, so we'll use that easy catchall "underrated" with regards to their lack of buzz.

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