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Schedule update: St. John's to host Nicholls State Colonels next season

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The Colonels will come with a new coach.

2015 Continental Tire Las Vegas Classic - Nicholls State v Hampton
Ja'Dante' Frye
Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images

St. John's will face the Nicholls State Colonels next season. Nicholls State plays in the Southland Conference - where Stephen F. Austin has run roughshod for years.

As games go, this is on the level of Binghamton and Longwood - the kind of games that will help head coach Chris Mullin work out his rotation and hopefully get his players some confidence.

Nicholls State, located in Thibodeaux, Louisiana, brings in a new coach, Richie Riley, after years of losing records. NSU has had nine winning seasons since  joining Division I in 1980.

Previous coach JP Piper had one winning season in 12 years - seven years ago. Some of that record was the need of a low-major team to take "buy" games on the road against major conference opponents for money, but Piper's team also had only two winning records in conference in twelve years.

Meanwhile, Richie Riley has worked with and played under some of the best coaches in college basketball. He comes from Clemson under Brad Brownell; he was an assistant to Jerod Haase at UAB (Haase is now the coach at Stanford); and he worked under former Eastern Kentucky coach Jeff Neubauer (now at Fordham) and for Cliff Ellis at Coastal Carolina.

The Colonels of Nicholls State were 11-23 last season and offensively terrible. But they do return a seven-footer in Liam Thomas and a strong shooter in Ja`Dante Frye. (And Riley has an adorable son.)

So far, the schedule has the Battle for Atlantis (tough games), at Syracuse (tough game), at Minnesota (road game that could be winnable or an ugly mark on the record for the Johnnies), at Tulane (road game but winnable), versus Binghamton, Longwood, Long Island University, and now Nicholls State.

Of course, the records of some of these teams are... well, it's clear that the Johnnies are bringing some teams for winnable games.

Team
KenPom Rank
2016 record
Nicholls State
326
11-23
Longwood
290
10-23
Binghamton
322
8-22
LIU
282
16-15

And in fact, some of the games that the program didn't have as much of a choice about feature teams coming off of poor years:

Team
KenPom Rank
2016 record
Minnesota
223
8-23
Tulane
219
12-22

Of course, Wagner was 10-23 the year before and ended the season 23-11. So not all of these teams will be poor opponents. (And St. John's lost to NJIT and Incarnate Word, so no opponent should be taken lightly for a team that has many leaps and bounds to make.)

And outside of a return engagement against Fordham, I don't have a huge problem with it. This is the kind of schedule that makes sense at this point in the team's development curve - beatable squads with a chance to sort out who can do what on the court.

It's not necessarily the schedule that gives a team the edge for NIT consideration, but if the team is good enough, they can make that case during Big East play.