The St. John’s basketball program is eyeing a pair of massive games next season.
Rick Pitino has not even had his first game as the head coach of the St. John’s basketball program and the Hall of Famer already has people excited about next season in Queens.
It was reported last week that the Johnnies have been in talks with Duke and Alabama about matchups in New York City during the 2024-25 campaign which each program getting its own historic venue.
“We’re going to take the schedule and make it something special outside the Big East,” Pitino said in an appearance on WFAN Wednesday morning.
The Johnnies and Blue Devils would be playing at Arthur Ashe Stadium in Queens, the home of the United States Open, and it would be on opening night of the season.
It will be the first college basketball game played in the venue and it would renew a long-standing tradition of Duke and St. John’s playing nearly every season.
The programs played each other in each season from 1998-2012 but only three times since with the last meeting coming inside Cameron Indoor Stadium in 2019 when the Blue Devils, led by Zion Williamson and RJ Barrett, beat the Chris Mullin coached Red Storm by 30 points.
St. John’s basketball schedule to be loaded with quality opponents
St. John’s anticipated game against Alabama would be in Madison Square Garden, Pitino said, as he hopes the Johnnies play 10 games at the World’s Most Famous Arena next season.
The Johnnies will also participate in the Baha Mar Bahamas Hoops Championship next season alongside Tennessee, Baylor, and a team yet to be determined.
The Red Storm are playing eight regular season games at MSG this season, five at Carnesecca Arena, three at UBS Arena, and one at the Barclays Center while also playing West Virginia on the road and in a very competitive field at the Charleston Classic.
Two of the games on campus this season will be conference matchups (Xavier and Butler) while the other three games in Queens will be ‘buy games’ against mid-major opponents.
Michigan will be coming to New York to play St. John’s at The Garden in the Gavitt Games this season but reports surfaced on Friday stating that this could be the final season of the annual series between the Big Ten and the Big East as talks to extend the series have hit an “impasse” after nearly reaching an agreement earlier in the offseason.