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Sports Illustrated predicts St. John's to finish ninth in the Big East

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SI uses their statistical projection system to project player averages.

Anthony Gruppuso-USA TODAY Sports

Sports Illustrated, using their statistical projection system, has put together previews for nine separate conferences and they released their Big East predictions on Monday with Villanova earning the first place finish.

With new head coach Chris Mullin and a plethora of newcomers, St. John's is predicted to end their season in ninth place, one slot ahead of Dave Leitao and DePaul.

That's the staggering number of players on last year's Red Storm roster who won't suit up for St. John's this year. The exodus precipitated the arrival of nine new names (five recruits and four transfers), which new head coach Chris Mullin and his assistants acquired in less than five months on the job. The tumult alone has led to St. John's projecting as one of the worst teams in the conference. The first chapter of the post-Steve Lavin era has began, though, and it's unfolding quickly.

The metrics are projecting wing player, Durand Johnson, to be the Johnnies leading scorer at 12.9 points per game followed by stretch four Darien Williams (10.4 PPG), point guard Marcus LoVett (9.2 PPG) and 6'11" Yankuba Sima (7.8 PPG). The three returnees, Felix Balamou, Christian Jones and Amar Alibegovic, are not listed on the chart of the top seven scorers.

Williams' rebounding averaged is measured at 7.2 per game while Sima (6.0 RPG), Johnson (5.5 RPG) and freshman Kassoum Yakwe (4.8 RPG) round out the top four.

In the assist category, LoVett is expected to be the leader at 3.4 per game with Italian point guard Federico Mussini (2.3 APG) the only other player in the vicinity of that average.

Unsurprisingly, Johnson, who is the most experienced player on the team, logs 76 percent of the minutes, according to the Sports Illustrated system, with LoVett staying in the game 75 percent of the time. In the top seven scorers, Kassoum Yakwe is predicted to play the fewest minutes at 50 percent.