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St. John’s non-conference schedule released: Johnnies keeping it local

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Duke + a bunch of NEC teams, plus staying local

Wendell Cruz

St. John’s released the 2018-19 non-conference schedule and dates. It’s not a schedule built with marquee matchups outside of Duke, but it is a schedule that will keep Chris Mullin’s red Storm close to home and give the squad a chance to rack up wins/ build confidence and possibly face off against a team that improves at the end of the year, raising the St. John’s RPI.

St. John’s 2018-19 non-conference schedule

Date Opponent Location Other Info Last Season KenPom Ranking
Date Opponent Location Other Info Last Season KenPom Ranking
11/1/2018 Maryville Carnesecca (Queens) *Exhibition
11/6/2018 Loyola Maryland Carnesecca (Queens) 323
11/9/2018 Bowling Green Carnesecca (Queens) 232
11/15/2018 at Rutgers RAC (Piscataway, NJ) Gavitt TipOff Games 130
11/19/2018 California Barclays (Brooklyn) Legends Classic 244
11/20/2018 Temple/ VCU Barclays (Brooklyn) 86/ 144
11/27/2018 Maryland Eastern Shore Carnesecca (Queens) 349
12/1/2018 Georgia Tech American Airlines Arena (Miami, FL) Hoophall Invitational 119
12/5/2018 Mount St. Mary's Carnesecca (Queens) 238
12/9/2018 Princeton Madison Square Garden (NY, NY) Holiday Festival 190
12/16/2018 Wagner Carnesecca (Queens) 180
12/19/2018 St. Francis (Bklyn) Carnesecca (Queens) 313
12/22/2018 Sacred Heart Carnesecca (Queens) 305
2/2/2018 at Duke Cameron Indoor (Durham, NC) 3
St. John’s schedule, non-conference, as of August 2018 Norman Rose

The average KenPom ranking of those teams last season is 208 out of 351.

To understand how this schedule positions the Red Storm, keep in mind that next year is predicted to be a down year for the Big East. If that prediction comes to pass — if the Big East has a number of teams that struggle in early season play or comes into January with few marquee wins over power-conference and high-end teams — the Johnnies will likely need a top-four finish in the league with a solid winning record to get into the NCAA Tournament.

(These are predictions, they could always be wrong. Nothing written here is legally binding.)

The Johnnies have lost Tariq Owens to transfer, a huge factor that they will work on overcoming in this schedule, which should allow for trying new combinations and getting players comfortable.

Though the schedule has four Northeast Conference teams and two (or three, depending on your outlook) poor major conference teams, this is also a St. John’s team working in a number of pieces to the core of Shamorie Ponds/ Justin Simon/ Marvin Clark II.

The Red Storm will have transfer guard Mikey Dixon on the floor, replicating some of what the staff expected to have with Marcus Lovett next to Shamorie Ponds. Sedee Keita should give a different and burlier look inside.

Additionally, LJ Figueroa finally gets on the floor at a Division I college to provide scoring and playmaking. Freshman Greg Williams is expected to join Bryan Trimble, Jr. to create scoring and pressure opportunities in the backcourt. The team hopes that both Marcellus Earlington and Josh Roberts, two freshman forwards, can provide some interior presence on defense, at the least.

Quick notes on the opponents

  • Though they lost to a cavalcade of mediocre sides, the Greyhounds (9-22) have a great name and did win six conference games & a conference tournament game.
  • Bowling Green went 16-16 and could be improved.
  • Rutgers went 15-19 with a schedule even weaker than this one, for what it’s worth. (Actually, that makes no real comparison, except to throw shade to last year. Ignore that sentence if you wish.)
  • California was 8-24, one of the worst major conference teams in the country. Temple was 17-16. VCU was 18-15.
  • Maryland Eastern Shore is... well, not a strong opponent. And the 7-25 team lost two freshman starters to transfer.
  • Georgia Tech was 13-19, but they have a pair of talented NY-area players on their roster.
  • Mount St. Mary’s won 18 (and lost 14) games last season and could be competitive, despite losing their coach in the offseason to the Siena Saints.
  • Princeton went an uncharacteristic 13-16, but should improve.
  • Wagner plays near the top of the Northeast Conference, and went 23-10 last season.
  • St. Francis (NY) was 13-18 last season but a decent 10-6 in Northeast Conference play.
  • The third Northeast conference foe in a row (and fourth overall -- Mount St. Mary’s is also a NEC team), Sacred Heart went 10-21, including a closer-than-the-score indicates 90-55 loss at St. John’s.
  • Duke is Duke -- filled with one-and-done prospects and high end holdover talent.