St. John's Red Storm basketball and the South Carolina Gamecocks will meet on Thursday, November 29th in Queens, a part of the first day of the Big East/ SEC Challenge.
The Big East/ SEC Challenge's matchups were announced by ESPN this morning. The 12 non-conference matchups exclude three of the 15 Big East teams - Pittsburgh, Louisville, and the posteseason-ineligible Connecticut. West Virginia starts Big XII play next fall. All of the games will be televised on ESPN's main networks (ESPN/ ESPN2/ ESPNU).
The Big East won last year's Challenge with eight wins. St. John's participated in last year's challenge, but lost to last year's NCAA Champion Kentucky by a score of 81-59.
St. John's hasn't faced South Carolina on the hardwood since 1975, when St. John's former coach (and Redmen grad) Frank McGuire coached the Gamecocks. McGuire, South Carolina's winningest coach, was known for his New York-to-South Carolina recruiting pipeline, and subsequent coaches have hoped to resurrect that tradition.
St. John's basketball is 3-0 against South Carolina.
The Gamecocks are hoping to bring back the winning days of basketball with coach Frank Martin.
The intense and fiery Martin accepted the head coaching position at USC(east) after rumored strife with the Kansas State administration. The Gamecocks struggled mightily last season, winning 2 of 16 games in Southeastern Conference play. Two of the Gamecocks' talented freshman forwards, Anthony Gill and Damontre Harris, transferred from the program, and lead guard Bruce Ellington splits his time with Steve Spurrier's football team.
Martin replenished a depleted roster with a pair of Lithuanian forwards, Laimonas Chatkevicius and Mindaugus Kacinas, guard Tarik Phillip from North Carolina, and New Yorker Thaddeus Hall. Hall, a 6'5 wing, played at New York's Thomas Jefferson High School. St. John's was an early favorite to land his services before Frank Martin made a strong push for the scoring guard.
St. John's will face new Gamecocks coach Frank Martin in cozy Carnesecca Arena, where the student section and home fans will pack the house.
The game adds to a schedule that already includes matchups against St. Francis at Brooklyn's Barclays Center, a tough slate of teams at the Charleston Classic in South Carolina. The on-campus South Carolina game is a non-conference treat for fans; the last Big East/ SEC Challenge game in New York was in Madison Square Garden against Georgia, the undercard of a doubleheader between Connecticut and Kentucky. In November, St. John's will be on the main stage at home.