(Very) early projection: Johnnies picked to finish 6th in 10-team Big East


How seriously do you consider early preseason projections?

You might be thinking: "It's June. Why would I even think about where St. John's or any other team is going to be in March?"

Well, for one, it's fun. But more importantly, those who care enough to make such detailed projections nine months in advance are often knowledgeable and accurate - at least about how things should play out.

We are all head-over-heels excited about the new Big East, with a healthy combination of old rivalries and new challenges. Dan Hanner, writing for Real GM Basketball, recently released (very) early conference projections which lays out, using the nerd numbers, where they feel each team will ultimately finish come March.

I don't think you're going to like this, so don't attack the messenger. The projections pick St. John's to finish sixth out of the 10-team Big East, only ahead of Providence, Xavier, Seton Hall, and DePaul. Georgetown is projected the early champion, yet the statistical analysis was conducted before the announcement of Greg Whittington's torn ACL.

The conclusions were met using a unique algorithm that takes into account a number of statistical categories including projected points scored and allowed every 100 possessions, last season's offensive and defensive efficiencies, the amount of high school Top 100 players on the roster, returning minutes and projections, and a whole bevy of multivariate analyses that we learned in college stats courses and have since weeded out.

The Johnnies return 89% of its minutes from 2012-13 and 91% of its possessions, and also have six players on the current roster who were ranked in the Top 100 out of high school. Yet a poor projected offensive effectiveness (90.5 points every 100 possessions - the worst in the league) pushes Steve Lavin's squad to the middle of the pack.

The Real GM release also projects the Red Storm's starting lineup for 2013-14, which includes D`Angelo Harrison, Sir`Dominic Pointer, JaKarr Sampson, Chris Obekpa and heralded freshman point guard Rysheed Jordan with Phil Greene IV, Jamal Branch, and Orlando Sanchez coming off the bench.

The model places St. John's at 44th among all of the Division I programs, which usually results in an at-large bid into the NCAA Tournament.

Even after losing Otto Porter and Vander Blue to the NBA Draft, Georgetown and Marquette are picked to finish atop the league, followed by newcomers Creighton and Butler.

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