St. John’s basketball could renew local rivalries if non-con bubble happens

Justin Simon of the St. John's basketball team dunks against Iona. (Photo by Porter Binks/Getty Images)
Justin Simon of the St. John's basketball team dunks against Iona. (Photo by Porter Binks/Getty Images) /

The St. John’s basketball team has the chance to renew some local rivalries if a non-conference bubble takes place this season.

There is a lot of speculation regarding the return to colligate athletics amid the coronavirus pandemic and when, and if, sports on the college level will return.

The biggest domino to fall has clearly been football, although the Big East does not have to worry about that despite the conference canceling all fall sports.

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However, conference like the ACC, SEC, and Big XI are playing fall sports, including football, while power conference like the Big Ten and Pac-12 made the decision to cancel all fall sports, including the big money maker in football.

The Pac-12 even double-downed on its decision canceling all sports, regardless of season, through January 1.

While conferences and the NCAA will certainly lose money because of the absence of a normal football schedule, the cooperation cannot financially sustain the loss of a college basketball season, specifically the NCAA Tournament.

Having an NCAA Tournament means that there must be a regular season of some kind, in some form, and a bubble concept has been picking up steam lately as can be seen in an article from college basketball insider Adam Zagoria.

Bubbles have been proven to be successful in the NBA and NHL and one would have to assume a college basketball bubble would equally be as safe, although there would be much more than just one bubble for different locations around the country and different points in the season.

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Zagoria and other college basketball insiders have specifically highlighted the chance for non-conference bubbles which would hold local games and already scheduled preseason tournaments, although not at their previously scheduled locations.

Jon Rothstein shared the following information on Wednesday afternoon:

As the St. John’s Red Storm are beginning to embark on the second season under head coach Mike Anderson, the Johnnies are slated to take part in the Preseason NIT Tournament with the Texas Tech Red Raiders, Cincinnati Bearcats, and Arizona Wildcats, although Arizona would not play in the event because of its conference’s decision on sports.

The Red Storm have already scheduled non-conference games against Sacred Heart and La Salle to take place in Carnesecca Arena, in addition to a game schedule in Lubbock, Texas against the Red Raiders in the Big East vs. Big XI Challenge.

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While both La Salle, located in Philadelphia, and Sacred Heart, located in Connecticut, could be in a potential bubble with St. John’s in non-conference play, the local schools that could also be in a bubble with the Red Storm to potentially reignite local rivalries include Rutgers (Big Ten), Syracuse (ACC), Fordham (Atlantic-10), and the newly minted jewel in New York, Iona (MAAC).

There is clearly a long way to go on deciding if a non-conference bubble is possible, where it would be played, and which teams would be invited to each bubble, but it’s an intriguing thought and a fun way to dream as everyone hopes there will be a college basketball season.