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Morning Rumble: St. John's hard schedule, NYC hoops ballot, Lavin surgery

Good morning! It's just 9 days until Red Storm Tip Off Starts the season. It's basketball New Year, just a little after Rosh Hashanah, and the news, polling, and basketball is starting to pick up.

St. John's logoSteve Lavin is having surgery on Thursday at Sloan-Kettering for his prostate cancer. No details on how invasive the procedure will be, or when he'll be back. But the plan that he's spoken about shouldn't cut into his coaching time, which is entirely plausible. But we'll see.

Best wishes to Lav.

St. John's logoSt. John's has finalized all times and most TV outlets for the 2011-12 Red Storm schedule. Will the TBAs all be on Red Storm All-Access online? Quite possibly.

St. John's logoAndy Katz analyzes the Red Storm's non-conference schedule, and gives it a 10 on the difficulty scale.

Yeah, that's right. I'll post on this after Red Storm Tip-Off in the Season Preview, but this schedule is crazy for a young team. Katz says, "Give coach Steve Lavin credit. This is the toughest schedule in the Big East and one of the hardest in the country..... Going to Detroit, one of the favorites in the Horizon League, is similar to last season’s trip to Saint Mary’s -- a dangerous road game that could be a plus for strength of schedule. Oh, and the Red Storm are basically made up entirely of freshmen, making this schedule even tougher."

At least they'll be tough at the end of this year, even if the wins don't come as often as last year.

St. John's logoBig Apple Buckets has started a blogpoll of NYC-area teams. I'm one of the voters.

You should check out the final poll, which has a top 6 of Iona/ Rutgers/ Seton Hall/ St. John's/ Fairfield/ and Long Island. My ballot:

  1. Iona
  2. Rutgers
  3. St. John's
  4. Seton Hall
  5. Long Island
  6. Wagner
  7. Rider
  8. Princeton
  9. Fairfield
  10. Stony Brook
  11. Yale
  12. Hofstra
  13. Fordham
  14. Columbia
  15. St. Peter's
  16. Sacred Heart
  17. Manhattan
  18. Army
  19. NJIT
  20. St. Francis (NY)
  21. Monmouth
  22. Fairleigh Dickinson
  23. Marist

Thoughts? I think Rutgers, Seton Hall, and St. John's are bunched together in the Big East as well, but Rutgers has returning players with upside. And I think Wagner and Rider have a chance to be real surprises in the New York area...

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