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Preview magazine season: Athlon’s take on St. John’s basketball in 2017-18

The Rumble looks at where Chris Mullin’s team is thought to be according to Athlon’s annual.

NCAA Basketball: St. John at Creighton Steven Branscombe-USA TODAY Sports

The second in our newsstand magazine previews of St. John’s is dripping with hype for the Johnnies.

Athlon points out that St. John's enter this season with the most hype in Chris Mullin's three years at the helm, but have enough talent to make noise in a league with "no clear-cut national title contender." It's not for us to think about the Villanova Wildcats' feelings, but geez, these outlets sure aren't giving Jay Wright's squad a lot of advance credit.

On St. John's, Athlon says the Johnnies have as much talent as anyone in the league, and that it's time for Mullin to break through. The preview adds that the perception of St. John's seems to be changing because of the second year progress.

But in that improvement, and even with the incoming transfers Justin Simon and Marvin Clark, the preview points out that St. John's was among the league's worst on defensive points allowed and last in three-point field goal defense. Clark is expected to take pressure off of Tariq Owens and Kassoum Yakwe, marked as inconsistent outside of blocking shots.

St. John's could improve, the piece concludes, but still not improve in the conference finish - unless the team tightens up the defense and avoids head-scratching losses. In that case, the team could make the NIT and flirt with an NCAA bid.

Predicted order of finish

  1. Villanova
  2. Xavier
  3. Seton Hall
  4. Providence
  5. St. John's
  6. Creighton
  7. Marquette
  8. Butler
  9. DePaul
  10. Georgetown

All conference predictions

  • Marcus Foster (Creighton)
  • Jalen Brunson (Villanova)
  • Trevon Bluiett (Xavier)
  • Kelan Martin (Butler)
  • Angel Delgado (Seton Hall)

Shamorie Ponds is listed on the third team.

Athlon also lists Omari Spellman (Villanova) as the Newcomer of the Year; Khyri Thomas (Creighton) as the Most Underrated Player; Mikal Bridges (Villanova) as the Best Defensive Player and Jalen Brunson (Villanova) as the Player of the Year.