This year’s exempt tournament for St. John’s will keep the Johnnies close by in the city.
Announced last August, but now official, the Red Storm will be part of next season’s Legend’s Classic, pitting four teams against each other in Brooklyn’s Barclays Center on November 19 and 20, with two games to be played at campus sites as unbracketed “sub-regional rounds” — in other words, they do not change the fact that the Johnnies will play in the two-day Classic in Brooklyn.
Full matchups have not been announced, but the participating teams are:
Sub-regional participants: Detroit, Bowling Green, Hampton, Loyola (MD)
Barclays Classic: St. John’s, California, Temple, VCU
While lacking some of the flavor of the high-end Maui Invitational or Battle 4 Atlantis, last year’s games featured solid competition between Penn State, Oklahoma State, Pittsburgh and the winner, Texas A&M (the one team of the group to make the NCAA Tournament).
Next season’s opponents look quite beatable, and St. John’s should go into the games as the favorite.
- California (KenPom Rank: 244) is recovering from an 8-24 season where, by the grace of Pitt, they were not the worst major-conference basketball program. They are losing their leading scorer, Don Coleman, but he was an inefficient volume scorer (full disclosure: St. John’s is looking at him as a transfer target).
- Temple (KenPom Rank: 87) was a solid 17-16 and return much of their impact talent.
- VCU (KenPom Rank: 144) was 18-15, playing a fairly young lineup.
- Detroit (KP Rank: 319) struggled to an 8-24 record in Bacari Alexander’s second season; their second-leading scorer is transferring.
- Loyola Maryland (KP Rank: 323) made a coaching change this season after a 9-22 season, bringing in former Georgetown assistant Tavaras Hardy.
- Hampton (KP Rank: 251) was strong in conference and made the NIT, finishing 19-16.
- Bowling Green (KP Rank: 231) was 16-16, but played some talented youth; their starting point guard and starting freshman forward are both transferring.
Looking at this list, St. John’s should hope to face off against Bowling Green and Hampton for the best early-season tests, and should hope to avoid California in the Brooklyn games... though the offseason can make mediocre teams a lot better.
Tickets go on sale on March 30th at 10:00 AM.