Big East Preview: St. John’s, With SB Nation’s Rumble In The Garden

Editor, Dave Klinger (Photo: Marquette Athletics)

College basketball season is quickly approaching. In an effort to preview it, we spoke with ten bloggers or writers, each covering a different Big East men’s basketball team. Today, we have a conversation with Rumble In The Garden, a blog covering St. John’s hoops, among other sports. Get to know your enemy by reading their answers below. Lastly, we asked them to rank the Big East.

Other previews: XavierGeorgetownCreightonVillanovaDePaul, Butler, Seton Hall, Providence, Marquette

2015-16 Record: 8-24 overall, 1-17 conference

Postseason: None

Why will St. John’s win?

RITG: Depends on what you mean by “win” exactly. Win the conference? That’s a huge leap and this squad has got to be about a first big step forward. I don’t know the team’s strengths yet, not in the way that other people know their team’s strengths, because the one thing St. John’s did somewhat well was force turnovers–which isn’t the most reliable way to defend and covered up stretches where the team looked awful on defense. But if they do win, their strengths will be three-point shooting, speed and athleticism, and drawing fouls. Plus shot blocking, but in a much longer post I could go on and on about how that’s a component of good defense but not good defense in and of itself. Wait, that sums it up, I don’t have to go on and on.

Why will St. John’s lose?

RITG: Young. Slim. Some questionable defending that leaves opponents open in transition and gives easy shots to big men and slashing guards.

What’s St. John’s ceiling and floor?

RITG: Ceiling could be as high as fourth, that’s assuming some top team falls apart and an explosion in St. John’s where the team rotates well defensively, where newcomer Bashir Ahmed is a great two-way player, where Marcus LoVett is an incredible passer without a lot of turnovers, where Tariq Owens and Yankuba Sima form a stout interior while Kassoum Yakwe adds rebounding on both ends. And Federico Mussini and Malik Ellison both have sophomore leaps.

The floor is ninth, because DePaul has no big men. In a tight Big East, St. John’s could be the squad that comes so close to wins but loses games on little mistakes–a bad pass here, a hurried shot there. So they would be markedly better but not move up far in the standings.

Who should I be afraid of…and why?

RITG: I would say Kassoum Yakwe because he took some shots last year that looked ludicrous at first yet logical once they fell, so he can expand his game… I don’t think there’s going to be ONE best player, so… Let’s actually say Malik Ellison, who was able to get his shot off and draw fouls while passing decently. I mean, it’s really hard to know. The best player could be a newcomer – Bashir Ahmed or Marcus LoVett. Or maybe Shamorie Ponds, who can create and make bad shots!

Rank the Big East.


1. Villanova

2. Creighton

3. Xavier

4. Georgetown

5. Marquette

6. Seton Hall

7. St. John’s

8. Butler

9. Providence

10. DePaul

Tweet us your thoughts at @mubbnation, or comment below.

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