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More 2014-15 previews: ESPN picks St. John's to finish fifth in the Big East

Providence, Georgetown, Xavier and Villanova are picked in front of the Red Storm.

John Alber

John Gasaway writes ESPN's preview of the Big East, where he likes Villanova to win and thinks Xavier is the surprise team (I very much agree).

Gasaway projects the Red Storm to finish fifth, but thinks that the loss of Jakarr Sampson and more minutes for Chris Obekpa might mean continued excellent defense. And he tosses in this nugget about D`Angelo Harrison:

In 2013-14 there were just three players in the entire country who attempted at least 250 shots inside the arc and connected at a lower rate than Harrison (39 percent). Then again, if the proverbial breakout season arrives on schedule for highly acclaimed sophomore point guard Rysheed Jordan, Harrison may have to carry less of the load as a senior.

That is true.

And D`Angelo Harrison's two-point shooting is rough, statistically. This is a case where the eye test can fail a person; watching a randomly-chosen game of Harrison's, you may see him hit some two-point shots or draw fouls on his forays. But another game can highlight Harrison's struggles to shoot as defenses collapse on him, or his shots taken in heavy traffic.

But Harrison isn't the best at scoring at the rim, and the effectiveness of his two-point jump shot - like most two-point jump shots - waxes and wanes like the moon.

We'll come back to this next week, but Harrison's aggressiveness and constancy of attack means that some nights are 7/12 shooting nights from inside the arc (vs Seton Hall in a win) and other nights are 1/9 (against Providence, in a win).

Are the Johnnies a middle-of-Big-East team? Or will they surprise the pundits (or if you prefer, "haters")?