Now, we dig into a pair of quantitatively focused pieces by two of the more talented college basketball writers, Dan Hanner and Basketball Predictions, who both see the strong defense but a struggling offense, despite the presence of many highly-rated recruits, which usually equals some level of success on the offensive side of the ball.
First, Jeff at Basketball Predictions' Big East preview notes that the Big East wasn't sexy up top, but was very deep. Granted, this preview was written just after the season - so some caveats apply, given the summertime changes.
But the computers see that the second-to-worst Big East team (Butler) was inside the Top 100 in the computers, and thus well ahead of the 6th best AAC team. The Big East was a deep league, even if it was soft in the upper half. Villanova's 16-2 record was still awfully impressive.
In talking about St. John's, though, Jeff starts by discussing the "disappointing miss" of the NCAA Tournament from "a very talented team that didn't seem to fit together".
Basketball Predictions slots the Red Storm at 9th - but this was written assuming Chris Obekpa was transferring. So, grains of salt. But remarking that the Johnnies were talented but didn't fit together is very apt.
RealGM has Dan Hanner's excellent work [link]- though he doesn't give a number for the Red Storm's finish, he does have the benefit of writing this piece at the end of August.
Hanner points out the same issue Basketball Predictions did, starting out with the sentence, "this team is an enigma." He notes that the team had quality depth, D`Angelo Harrison and Jakarr Sampson - plenty of highly rated recruits but the team could not score.
Hanner points out that the Johnnies could be better on defense because of more Chris Obekpa, who lost minutes on the floor to the now-gone trio of Jakarr Sampson, Orlando Sanchez and God`sGift Achiuwa. But they could be worse on offense without Sampson.
Rysheed Jordan making a sophomore jump could also be key. Former St. John's coach and ESPN commentator Fran Fraschilla seems to feel that, like NBC Sports earlier this week, that Rysheed needs to be let "loose".
Hanner lists the Red Storm in the "Hoping for the NCAA Tournament" section with Xavier, Marquette and Providence; he has Villanova and Georgetown in the possible top-25 teams.
This writer would say that Rysheed Jordan has been loose but he could be better this year; and the loss of Jakarr Sampson could be harmful or could lead to a better, more balanced offense.