This could be the year. The year that one of our local Division I basketball programs takes a major step.
St. John’s Men: The Red Storm has a golden opportunity to show the basketball world its back. The Red Storm’s schedule features 11 nationally televised games, including a road date against St. Mary’s on ESPN on November 16 and battle against Duke on CBS at MSG on January 30th.
The Red Storm made a huge splash last spring with the hiring of former UCLA coach Steve Lavin. Now it’s time for the Red Storm (17-16, 6-12 Big East) to carry that excitement onto the hardwood. St. John’s returns nearly every player from last season’s NIT team except for Anthony Mason Jr. D.J. Kennedy, Paris Horne and Sean Evans will be expected to get the Red Storm back on the NCAA map.
St. John’s Women: Here’s a trivia question. What basketball program in the New York metro area has had the most success the last five years? The St. John’s women. After advancing to the NCAA tournament for the second time in five years, Kim Barnes Arico has the Red Storm (25-7, 12-4 Big East) entrenched as the premier women’s team in the region.
The network TV world has taken notice. The St. John’s women will appear on national television six times. The Red Storm’s foray into TV begins with a road date against Louisville on CBS College Sports channel on January 4. St. John’s television schedule will be highlighted by a date at Notre Dame on January 23 on ESPNU.
With nine players returning, including four starters, from a team that advanced to the second round of the NCAA tournament last year, could a Final Four appearance be in Red Storm’s immediate future?
Stony Brook Men: As stated by Newsday’s Greg Logan in the previous post, Stony Brook was rewarded handsomely by the powers that be in TV land for its NIT appearance last season. The Seawolves (22-10, 13-3 America East) will be on the ESPN family of networks three times. The final appearance will be as host in the ESPN Bracketbusters. Of course the pressure will be on for Stony Brook, especially in light of the injury to forward Tommy Brenton. Brenton dislocated his knee last week. There’s no timetable for Brenton’s return.