Schedule updates - next season, St. John's faces LIU in Brooklyn on 12/11, plays at Tulane at some point next season.
Next year, St. John's will play LIU-Brooklyn blocks from their home campus and home arena, and will also travel to New Orleans in a game that has been announced, but one we have not taken a look at.
The LIU-Brooklyn game will be the first game of a doubleheader at the Barclays Arena split with Kentucky. Even as a near-road game (LIU has a partnership for at least a game each year at the Barclays), LIU should (hopefully) be a beatable opponent for the Johnnies. The Blackbirds, who play in the Northeast Conference for coach Jack Ferri, were 9-9 last season, but beat Wagner twice. Icelandic guard Martin Hermansson is solid, and the Blackbirds have a pair of undersized but strong big men in Jerome Frink and Nura Zanna.
From the Blackbird Hoops Journal:
A better LIU team next season vs what should be an improved St. John's team should make for an interesting game at Barclays.— Nelson Castillo (@NelCastBHJ) May 9, 2016
Tulane will be a completion of a home-and-home agreement. The Green Wave played St. John's two years ago at the Barclays Center and were routed. The Green Wave now have a new coach - former NBA coach Mike Dunleavy Sr. - and lose big man Dylan Osetkowski to transfer and guard Louis Dabney for graduation.
These are two matchups that don't jump off the page as sexy, but will provide a little more framework for next season. The Johnnies already have a game at Syracuse, the Battle for Atlantis, Binghamton and Longwood scheduled.
But with tough trips to the Bahamas and Syracuse on the docket, a pair of winnable road or semi-road games will look good on a postseason resume if the team is good enough to warrant NIT consideration.
Consider: the RPI considers both the winning percentage of an opponents' opponents - the teams that opponent plays - and gives 1.4 points for a road win (as opposed to 0.6 points for a win).
Assuming St. John's CAN beat Tulane - which is not a given, after seeing last year's squad, admittedly - a trip to Tulane means:
- a trip to New Orleans, that fascinating and gorgeous city
- a chance to play a team that will play at least three top-25 teams (Some combination of Cincinnati, Connecticut, SMU, Temple, Houston and Memphis should be in the top-25 next year from the American Conference, which Tulane belongs to)
- a chance for a realistic non-conference road win.
Now, of course, that game doesn't do a lot in isolation; Northwestern, who missed the NIT, defeated DePaul and Virginia Tech on the road; Marquette, who missed the NIT, defeated Wisconsin on the road.
Tulane was rated at 219 in KenPom rankings, three spots ahead of St. John's. LIU was ranked 282 at the end of last season.