Chris Mullin begins year two at St. John's with challenging non-conference schedule that will test his Red Storm team's mettle before Big East play. (Photo by Newsday)
By Jason Schott (@JESchott19)
The St. John’s Red Storm announced their men's basketball out-of-conference schedule Thursday afternoon, unveiling a 13-game docket against non-league opponents in 2016-17, headlined by marquee contests in the Battle 4 Atlantis, Gavitt Tipoff Games, and a road game with longtime rival Syracuse.
The first couple months of the season features seven local dates and appearances in three of New York City’s boroughs for the Red Storm and head coach Chris Mullin, who enters his second season at the helm. St. John’s 110th season commences on Friday, November 11, at Carnesecca Arena against Bethune-Cookman.
St. John's remains on its on-campus court to host Binghamton on November 14 in a preliminary round matchup in the Battle 4 Atlantis. The Red Storm will then travel to Minneapolis for the second annual Gavitt Tipoff Games to square off with Minnesota and head coach Richard Pitino on November 18. The Golden Gophers are one of three Big Ten opponents on the non-league schedule for the Red Storm, and the contest inside Williams Arena will be the fourth all-time in a series that dates back to 1994. Most recently, St. John’s topped Minnesota, 70-61, at Madison Square Garden in the 2014 NIT Preseason Tip-Off.
The Battle 4 Atlantis, which will take place at Atlantis, Paradise Island, Bahamas features an eight-team field. St. John’s begins the three-day event against reigning Big Ten champion Michigan State on November 23 inside Imperial Arena, in a nationally televised tilt, airing live on AXS TV. Nearly four decades since their last meeting, St. John’s and Michigan State will square off for only the third time in the history of the storied college basketball programs.
St. John’s second game at the Battle 4 Atlantis will take place on November 24, and will be against another 2016 NCAA Tournament participant, either Baylor or VCU.
The opposite side of the bracket includes Louisville, LSU, Wichita State and Old Dominion. The 2016 Battle 4 Atlantis field has combined for 169 NCAA Tournament appearances, including St. John’s 28 trips to the Big Dance.
The Red Storm returns to Queens for three of its next four contests, beginning with Delaware State on November 29, and continuing with Cal State Northridge (December 5) and Fordham (December 8) at Carnesecca Arena. A road game at Tulane, now coached by former NBA mentor Mike Dunleavy, precedes this homestand, to be played in New Orleans on December 2.
St. John’s will also participate in the 2016 Brooklyn Hoops Winter Festival doubleheader at Barclays Center on December 11. The Red Storm will take on LIU Brooklyn, with Kentucky facing Hofstra in the second game.
Following a week off for final exams, St. John's will make their season debut at the “World’s Most Famous Arena” against Penn State on December 18 in the Madison Square Garden Holiday Festival.
St. John’s wraps up the non-conference portion of the schedule at the Carrier Dome onfor the 91st all-time meeting with Syracuse. It is the Red Storm’s first trip back to Central New York since downing the Orange, 69-57, on December 6, 2014. Last season, Mullin’s squad knocked off the Final Four-bound Orange, 84-72, at Madison Square Garden.
*Information from a St. John's University press release also contributed to this story.