The preview magazines are coming off of the presses - for those who read their preseason news in glossy, bound format as opposed to on a tablet or computer - and the Sporting News, first up to bat, gives what seems to be a low-end prediction for the St. John's Red Storm, placing them seventh on their preconference ranking.
By all accounts, however, picking the middle of the league will be difficult. From the Sporting News overview of the new Big East:
What's striking... is the potential jumble in the middle of the league. Georgetown and Marquette will likely remain in conference title contention, but Creighton (with All-American Doug McDermott) could emerge as a contender.
And that's not to say Butler, Providence, St. John's, Villanova, and Xavier aren't all serious contenders for both the top half of the league and NCAA bids as well.
"...there's a likeness between the schools and the basketball programs, which I think will lead to a very competitive situation with a lot of compelling storylines," said Steve Lavin.
On the St. John's page, Coach Lavin promotes the Johnnies "measurable progress", incremental growth, and the team's balance.
In Lavin's echoed some of the words from the Sporting News article on Twitter,
3 straight elite classes. Interestingly not a McDonalds All American on the roster yet would not trade one of our young men. Humble + Work!— Steve Lavin (@SJUCoachLavin) September 1, 2013
And also mentioned the new pieces of the "puzzle":
New kids Orlando Sanchez, Max Hooper & Rysheed Jordan all fit nicely into our SJU puzzle. Phil Greene's return from hip injury will be BIG.— Steve Lavin (@SJUCoachLavin) September 1, 2013
Do you think the Sporting News pick was too low? Look out for pieces on the Big East schedule and other preview magazines here on Rumble in the Garden.