Everyone wants to know the answer to the burning question - how many games will St. John's win this year? Perhaps the accurate answer is just as burning. No one really knows how D`Angelo Harrison, Phil Greene, and crew will fare this year.
But around here, we like a good guess. As the Rumble (and you) prepare for the season opener against Detroit, The Rumble's crew and guest predictor Kieran of Sweet Sweet Lavin and NYC Hoops come at you with some thoughts on the season, and some bold predictions. Well, a couple of bold predictions, anyway...
And add your predictions below! We'll be giving you much credit at the end of the year if you're right. No prizes yet, we're not that rich.
Quinn Rochford @qstjhoops
The Red Storm won 13 games with virtually no bench and without their head coach a year ago. You'd think that with added talent, Steve Lavin's return, and a slightly less-daunting schedule, the Johnnies will exceed that total.
But is this a 20-win squad, one that can compete for an NCAA Tournament bid? That's still up in the air. History says that teams this young don't earn bids into the Big Dance. St. John's will have to convince many that they stand out.
The addition of Big East talents JaKarr Sampson, Chris Obekpa, Christian Jones, and, if eligible, Marc-Antoine Bourgault and Orlando Sanchez supplements a core of sophomores that experienced the growing pains in learning how to win. The Johnnies will be a team that can beat anyone, but once again, they can lose to anyone.
Their youth at times will seem refreshing and energetic, while at others debilitating. In a projected weaker Big East, St. John's will win anywhere between 16 and 18 games, squeak into a few bubble conversations, and host an NIT opening round game in mid-March.
Jaden Daly @dalydoseofhoops
The Red Storm won't enjoy the same results from their captivating 2011 NCAA Tournament run, but that doesn't mean the team won't be better than last year's 13-19 effort.
With a deeper roster and the experience the incumbent players picked up last season, there's every reason to believe that St. John's will be a bubble team at the very least. The frontcourt has been solidified and the backcourt will be as well, especially when Jamal Branch suits up, but what remains to be seen is how the youth of the Red Storm reacts to late game situations.
Expect an above average start to the year followed by an early Big East slate that will see St. John's struggle and succeed in equal parts before the sideline presence of Steve Lavin, who himself is worth several wins the Johnnies couldn't get last season, guides this group to a strong finish that gets them into postseason contention.
Put me on record for 17-13 (8-10 in Big East play)
Kieran Lynch @Kieran_Lynch
The Red Storm lucked out with their non-conference schedule. A year ago, a young team with no bench matched up (usually not too well) with the likes of Kentucky and Duke. This season, things don’t get much tougher than a possible matchup against Baylor or the season opener with Detroit.
It’s quite possible St. John’s could run its way to a 11-1 or 10-2 record out of conference. The big question is how or when will the growing pains show up. Sure, it looks like this team can run through the early schedule, but what happens if they start tripping up i.e. Northeastern style from last November? If this team wants a realistic shot at making the NCAA tournament, they’ll have to rack up the wins early.
Everyone takes their lumps come Big East play, but how many lumps can such a young team take before it breaks? Unlike past years, there is no incredibly tough stretch in conference. The worst it gets is facing Syracuse and Louisville back-to-back on the road.
If St. John’s can manage to come out firing through Christmas and avoid any serious losing streaks in January and February, Red Storm fans can be looking at a realistic chance of seeing their team play in the NCAA Tournament. With this schedule and with all these factors considered, my prediction is 20-10 in the regular season.
Tim Dimas @journalistim
The 2012-13 campaign has all the makings of a bright future for the Red Storm basketball program. With high-talented players like JaKarr Sampson and D`Angelo Harrison, Coach Lavin could be preparing for his best season as a coach yet. This St. John’s team is fully stocked and ready to make some noise throughout the Big East and non-conference play.
Harrison and Sampson will be two of the stars needing to shine brightly. But they will also need help from the whole squad to bring this team to postseason play.
With Steve Lavin healthy and with a full squad, this St. John’s team has the making of a low-seeded NCAA team right now. NIT for sure but the big dance in March isn’t out of the question. In a few years watch out but for now, sit, relax and be ready to watch the molding of one of the best teams St. John’s has put on the floor in a while.
Norman Rose (aka Pico) @ecoastbias
Depth and optimism are blessings for this St. John's team that slogged through a year-long learning period. How well the lessons of last year stuck with the returning players, and how quickly Steve Lavin is able to get the new Johnnies up to speed will determine the year's success. Assuming all of the players are cleared to compete in NCAA games, fans will see a number of different lineups as the coach uses game minutes as a reward for practice competition.
Of course, this also means a few losses to teams the Red Storm should eliminate on paper.
The key is how well the team gels in February, how well the new bog men play solid fundamental defense, and how efficient the defensively-orietned wings, Amir Garrett and Sir`Dominic Pointer, can be. Lavin is building to a strong 2013-14; I'd guess 17-13 in the regular season with a strong finish, maybe a win in the Big East Tourney, and about 7-11 in what will be a surprisingly deep Big East conference.
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