The college basketball season is just over two months away. While most of American’s lives are gobbled up at the moment by college football and the NFL, hoop junkies can’t wait for the tip-off to another promising season. And if you’re a St. John’s Red Storm fan opening day can’t come soon enough. Steve Lavin will be entering his third season, second healthy, and a young Johnnies squad will be looking to return to the NCAA Tournament.
Trying to help you bide your time until the Red Storm begin the regular season, we here at RantSports are going to be giving you game by game predictions for St. John’s upcoming season. From this day out, every other day I’m going to be breaking down each of the Red Storm’s opponents in order. In all honesty, the fact that things such as eligibility issues, late transfers, and the like will be making this a rather difficult journey. But if you promise to hold my hand, I promise I’ll keep everything as accurate as humanly possible.
Detroit Titans at St John’s Red Storm at Carnesecca Arena on Tuesday, Nov. 13 at 2 p.m (ESPN)
Now that the bold lettering is out of the way, St. John’s will open up their regular season against non-conference foe the Detroit Titans. While the Titans play in a pretty strong mid-major, The Horizon League, this should be looked as a tuneup game for the Red Storm.
Detroit went 11-7 in conference and 22-14 overall, even making it to the NCAA Tournament where they were upended by the Kansas Jayhawks in the “real” first round. The Titans relied heavily on a balanced scoring attack, with 3 seniors graduated and gone to go pro in something other than sports, Detroit will likely look for Ray McCallum(Jr.) to pick up his game. McCallum scored 15 a game last season and will certainly be the Titans’ go to guy for the upcoming season. Whether or not Detroit will be able to replace 3 starters and make another run is unlikely.
As for the Red Storm, this game shouldn’t be used as a gauge of how well their squad will be this year. Steve Lavin will likely be testing rotations and trying to find one that he is happy with. With 8 incoming freshman added to an already young squad, don’t expect the Red Storm to have players in rotation slots after this game either. In fact, the only player safe on the Red Storm’s roster is sharpshooter D’Angelo Harrison. Don’t be entirely shocked when Lavin ends up playing 11 different guys on opening night.
For St. John’s, the question going into the season for the Red Storm isn’t whether Harrison can duplicate or improve his 17 points per game last year, but if another Johnny or two will rise up and fill the shoes that Moe Harkless left when he went to the NBA purgatory known as the Orlando Magic.
Prediction: St John’s 75 Detroit 61
Like I said before, Detroit is going to have a down year themselves. Mid-majors don’t reload, they rebuild. I highly doubt the Titans, who will start at least 3 new players, are going to be able to match-up with the Red Storm. However, don’t expect St John’s to look pretty in this victory. It’s going to take time for this young team to assimilate and the growing pains will be available for a national picture box audience on November 13.
Keep coming back to the Rant Sports College Basketball Section(especially the Big East) for continued coverage of the St. John’s Basketball Season Preview. Oh, and follow me on the Twitter device @JosephNardone