St. John's released it's first non-conference schedule of the Chris Mullin era on Monday afternoon and it is no walk in the park for a team that lost five key seniors and added a bunch of talented, but inexperienced freshman.
Overall, the schedule is solid in terms of resume building as the Johnnies will play eight out of their 13 games at Carnesecca Arena or Madison Square Garden, will travel to Hawaii for the Maui Invitational and will play one true road game.
A new season in Queens tips off with the Red Storm hosting fellow New York City school, Wagner, on campus on November 13 followed by games against UMBC and Rutgers. Eddie Jordan's Scarlet Knights will play Mullin's squad in the first edition of the annual Gavitt Tip-Off Games (Big Ten vs. Big East) in honor of the late Dave Gavitt.
The team will then fly to Maui where they will face a very daunting and competitive field in one of the best early season tip-off tournaments in all of college basketball. St. John's will face Vanderbilt, a potential top 25 team, in the opening round and will then square up with the winner or loser of Indiana versus Wake Forest (depending on St. John's result) on day two. The other side of the bracket consists of top-10 Kansas, west coast powerhouse UCLA, the host Chaminade, and a talented UNLV team.
To start December, St. John's will face their only true road test as they head to the Bronx to face Fordham. The Johnnies have consistently beat the Rams at Madison Square Garden, but playing at Rose Hill Gym will provide the youngsters with their first taste of a road environment before Big East play.
Mullin will make his debut at the Garden against St. Francis of New York, but expect the most hyped game at the Mecca to be December 13 against Syracuse. The Red Storm will begin their second straight home-and-home series with the upstate New York school after defeating the Orange last year at the Carrier Dome.
St. John's was expected to play Arizona State at MGM Grand in Las Vegas but that battle fell through the cracks opening up an opportunity to play South Carolina at Mohegan Sun. The unique environment in Connecticut will be the program's final game before they kick off Big East play.
Niagara, Incarnate Word and NJIT are the final three games at Carnesecca Arena in the month of December.
Here is the full slate of non-conference games (*All times are TBD*):
11/4 St. Thomas Aquinas (Exhibition)
11/7 Sonoma State (Exhibition)
11/23 Vanderbilt (Maui)
11/24 Indiana/Wake Forest (Maui)
11/25 TBD (Maui)
12/6 St. Francis (NY)
12/18 Incarnate Word
12/22 South Carolina