So, in the day before St. John’s men’s basketball kicks off the season, let’s compile and review some late previews of St. John’s predicted final standings in the Big East and/ or the team’s position nationally.
Recent previews and rankings
Matt Giles, writing for NYC Buckets, notes that St. John’s offense has potential, but that quant projections for the Red Storm range from bullish to not-much-change, because of the defense.
The other key for a postseason appearance, aside from Ponds’ growth, will be the team’s defensive rebranding. Simply put, the Red Storm couldn’t stop anyone from scoring in 2017, allowing opponents to 1.10 points per possession in Big East play.
ESPN has a Big East preview, where St. John’s is listed as the team that could surprise. The preview calls for only four teams to make the NCAA Tournament
The talent certainly isn't the question.... The biggest questions will be rebounding and consistency.
Sporting News is on the St. John’s train, apparently, listing the Johnnies as fifth - with Creighton, Marquette, Butler, DePaul and Georgetown following. They call St. John’s the sleeper, and list the Georgetown game at St. John’s as one of the league’s three biggest games.
CBS Sports lists St. John’s as their #64 team overall in their 351-team ranking.
...this ranking is putting a lot of stock into SJU's talent. Chris Mullin still has to prove it as a coach. It's all about Marcus LoVett and Shamorie Ponds...
Jon Rothstein on FanRag sports makes the bold prediction that St. John’s will finish fifth in the Big East conference.
The Big East has four clear-cut top teams — Villanova, Xavier, Seton Hall, and Providence — but after that things get more cluttered.... Mullin has the firepower and depth to make a statement at his alma mater. He has a roster that should enable SJU to finish in the top half of the Big East.
Meanwhile, ESPN’s John Gasaway ranks St. John’s at 63. Of note is that three of the Advocare opponents St. John’s will or can face, Oregon State (66), Missouri (71) and UCF (72) also reside in this lower middle class of high-major rankings, likely on the outside edge of an NCAA Tournament berth.
Sports Illustrated, however, has the Johnnies at 87, and obviously do not think a big boost on defense - or even offense - is coming.
John Templon at NYC Buckets breaks down the various 351-team rankings, averaging their positioning of teams; St. John’s ends up eight in the Big East in this composite
The Big East has the lowest average “difference” of any conference in the nation. Every ranking system seems to agree that Villanova is a Top 10 team nationally and that Seton Hall is probably in the late 20s. (Though T-Rank has them 21st.) There’s a bit more disagreement in the second tier (Marquette, Butler, Creighton, St. John’s), but all have the potential to be contenders.
Implicit in this, of course, is that the player losses from last season will be more than made up by adding a former five-star recruit in Justin Simon, a very good power forward in Marvin Clark, and in general improvements from the rest of the team.
The NY Post lists St. John’s as the 7th team in the Big East ranking, above Butler, DepUal and Georgetown and below Marquette - and this prediction leaves them on the wrong side of the NCAA bubble.
Which isn’t ideal, but NIT would be a big step for this rebuild.
On Yahoo! Sports, St. John’s Chris Mullin is listed as the coach under the most pressure in the Big East. Which we don’t agree with; LaVall Jordan at Butler has a tradition to uphold and not much of a track record as a head coach, with a roster that lost a lot of talent from last season.