St. John’s basketball hoping to turn page, stack wins as schedule toughens

St. John's basketball head coach Rick Pitino and guard Jordan Dingle (Wendell Cruz-USA TODAY Sports)
St. John's basketball head coach Rick Pitino and guard Jordan Dingle (Wendell Cruz-USA TODAY Sports) /

The St. John’s basketball program is hoping to stack victories as the schedule toughens. 

Monday night against Michigan was not the expectation or the standard for the St. John’s basketball program under Rick Pitino.

The Johnnies were taken aback by the speed of the Wolverines in its 89-73 loss inside Madison Square Garden and the Hall of Famer knows that his team has to bounce back quickly because, unlike in previous seasons for the Red Storm, the schedule is only going to get tougher.

It begins on Thursday afternoon when St. John’s faces North Texas in the opening matchup of the Charleston Classic.

On Friday, it will either face Dayton or LSU and a potential matchup with No. 6 Houston could happen on Sunday night.

“Even when I had great teams, they do not play their best basketball until January or February when they really excel,” Pitino said following his team’s first loss of the season.

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“And we will, we will excel in January or February.”

However, St. John’s cannot let more opportunities slip away to make a statement in the non-conference and begin building its resume for an NCAA Tournament berth, a goal Pitino has set for his first season in Queens.

A roadtrip to West Virginia remains on the schedule when the Red Storm return to New York, although the Mountaineers are not expected to be as good as anticipated before the dismissal of head coach Bob Huggins, it will still provide a test for St. John’s.

“And the Big East [schedule] will be much easier,” Pitino joked as he concluded his remarks on Monday.

St. John’s basketball expecting new mindset in South Carolina

It did not take long for Rick Pitino to know that his team would turn the page quickly entering Charleston.

“It’s not going to change the way we work. We’re going to get back at it.”

ALSO READ: St. John’s looking to bounce back against North Texas

The Red Storm shot 36.0-percent from the floor and 33.3-percent from 3-point range while Michigan connected at an unprecedented clip of 51.6-percent and 42.3-percent, respectively.

“They’ll be loaded for bear against North Texas because they will be very upset at themselves,” Pitino explained how he expected his team to respond after watching the film of Monday’s loss.

Tipoff is at 1:30p.m. EST (ESPNU) from the TD Arena in Charleston, South Carolina.

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