The St. John’s basketball program is hoping for more games in major arenas going forward.
Joe Tartamella realize how important Madison Square Garden is for the St. John’s basketball program and he’s hoping to get back on track with playing as many women’s basketball games in the iconic venue as possible.
For the first time in four seasons, the Red Storm will return to The Garden this year to take on Villanova in the annual MSG Holiday Festival.
The event will serve as a tripleheader on Saturday, December 16 which begins with Georgia Tech and Penn State followed by St. John’s against Fordham. The women will take the court last at 6:00p.m. ET.
“There’s nothing better than being [in The Garden],” Tartamella said at Big East Media Day.
“To have an opportunity to be in Madison Square Garden, a place that has always been a second home to St. John’s…there’s no better stage.”
The Johnnies hold a 7-7 record in its previous games inside The Mecca but Tartamella is hoping that the team can play in the building more often going forward.
“We are working on it,” Tartamella explained when asked about playing more games at The Garden in future seasons.
“There is certainly is a lot more momentum towards that, obviously the significance of our men’s team playing more games here helps that, so there’s more opportunity. I think we are going to get two or three games [at MSG] at some point, and I think that’s real.”
The St. John’s women’s team has not played multiple games at Madison Square Garden since the 2012-13 season when the Johnnies, fresh off an appearance in the Sweet 16, tangled with Duke and Seton Hall in the World’s Most Famous Arena.
The Red Storm will play the UConn Huskies at UBS Arena for the second consecutive season and Tartamella is hoping that his program can continue to play at the major venue on Long Island while also potentially adding a game in Brooklyn at the Barclays Center next season against LIU.
St. John’s basketball, national powerhouse already eyeing game at MSG
The crown jewel in Big East women’s basketball remains the UConn Huskies and the idea of having 11-time National Champions come to Madison Square Garden to play St. John’s is not far-fetched, in fact it seems like it will happen sooner rather than later.
“I think the St. John’s women’s team should play [at Madison Square Garden] regularly,” UConn head coach Geno Auriemma said.
Auriemma said that he believes the Huskies will be playing twice at The Garden next season and he “hopes” a matchup against St. John’s would be a third game for UConn in the building.
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“It’s great exposure for us, the league, and St. John’s.”
Joe Tartamella shares the same beliefs as the UConn head coach and hopes the complicated process of scheduling games at Madison Square Garden allows the two programs to meet in Manhattan for the first time since 2015.
“The hope would be to [play UConn at MSG],” Tartamella explained. “It’s a game that commands that [attention].”
St. John’s went on a road and defeated UConn last season, a defining moment in the Red Storm earning a berth in to the NCAA Tournament.
The Johnnies and Huskies have played just three times at Madison Square Garden in its longstanding series between the programs.
St. John’s will be looking to make it back to the tournament as its season begins on Monday, November 6 against LIU (7:00p.m. ET, FloSports).