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2015-16 nonconference schedule analysis: St. John's Red Storm

The Johnnies' nonconference schedule for the 2015-16 includes a tropical trip to the Islands of Hawaii for the Maui invitational, and a December 13th match up against former Big East foe Syracuse at Madison Square Garden.

David Banks-USA TODAY Sports

For fans of the Big East, there was much rejoicing on Tuesday as the conference released the full schedule for the 2015-16 season. While a number of other schools in the conference were also releasing their full schedule, for St. John's all that remained to be released was their conference schedule, as earlier in August the Red Storm released the non-conference portion of their schedule for this season.

This season, the Johnnies have a slate of 13 nonconference games for this season, eight of which will be played either Carnesecca Arena in Queens or at Madison Square Garden in Manhattan, among which includes a December 13th meeting with Syracuse at the Garden.

They begin play with two exhibition games at Carnesecca against Division II school's St. Thomas Aquinas and Sonoma State. Their first game of the season is an inter-borough match up against Wagner on November 13 at 6 p.m.

Interestingly enough for St. John's their nonconference schedule is heavily tilted towards home matchups at either Carnesecca or MSG with the only road games being three neutral site games and a road game against Fordham on their floor at the Rose Hill Gymnasium.

The three neutral site games at the two scheduled Maui Invitational games to be played at the Lahaina Civic Center in Maui, Hawaii against Vanderbilt for the first game and either Wake Forest or Indiana in the second game. If successful in their first two games, that number of only two games in Maui could be three if St. John's beats either Wake or Indiana.

Their final neutral site game is against South Carolina which is scheduled to be played at the Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, Connecticut on December 22 at 9 p.m.

Overall, they leave the New York/Tri-State area only once for their Maui Invitational games in Hawaii and the next time that will happen this season will be when the Johnnies play their first road game in conference play against Providence on January 2nd.

The fact that travel is fairly marginal in the nonconference portion of the schedule bodes will for Chris Mullin in his first season as head coach of St. John's. In terms of opponents, the most crucial games in this part of the schedule are an early season meeting with Rutgers on November 19, the two, potentially three games they'll have to play in Hawaii against the likes of Vanderbilt and either a Wake Forest side coached by Danny Manning or Tom Crean's Indiana. The final crucial game is their match up against former Big East foe Syracuse at the Garden on December 13. While Syracuse is in the ACC now, this game will most likely have that old Big East flavor to it, especially since last season the Johnnies beat Syracuse at the Carrier Dome in upstate New York.

It is a fairly favorable nonconference slate for St. John's and Chris Mullin who has wiggle room to further develop the team with each passing game.  How they fair in the run up to conference play will be left to once the games begin.

For now here is the full non-conference schedule that St. John's will be playing this season:

Date Opponent Where Event Time
11/4/15 St. Thomas Aquinas Carnesecca Exhibition TBD
11/7/15 Sonoma State Carnesecca Exhibition TBD
11/13/15 Wagner Carnesecca 6:00 p.m.
11/16/15 UMBC Carnesecca Maui Inv-Campus 7:00 p.m.
11/19/15 Rutgers Carnesecca Gavitt Tip-off Game 7:00 p.m.
11/23/15 Vanderbilt Lahaina(HI) Maui Inv 2:30 p.m.
11/24/15 Indiana/Wake Forest Lahaina(HI) Maui Inv TBD
11/25/15 TBD Lahaina(HI) Maui Inv TBD
12/2/15 Fordham Rose Hill(NY) TBD
12/6/15 St. Francis NY MSG Holiday Fest 11:00 a.m.
12/9/15 Niagara Carnesecca 5:00 p.m.
12/13/15 Syracuse MSG 12:00 p.m.
12/18/15 Incarnate Word Carnesecca 7:00 p.m.
12/20/15 NJIT Carnesecca 12:00 p.m.
12/22/15 South Carolina Mohegan Sun(CT) HoF Shootout 9:00 p.m.