The St. John’s basketball team knows it has to pick up the intensity.
Big East play is looming and the St. John’s basketball team knows it.
A roster comprised of 14 new players that has been learning how to play with each other has its toughest challenge quickly approaching as the juggernaut No. 5 UConn Huskies await the Red Storm on December 23.
However, matchups against Boston College, Fordham, and Xavier separate the Johnnies and the defending National Champions and players know that they must quickly come together.
“We know that the way we have been playing isn’t necessarily where we want to be,” Chris Ledlum said.
St. John’s has been much better since its disappointing 16-point loss at home against Michigan in the second game of the season and no-show second half against Dayton in the Charleston Classic, albeit two of those games were against Holy Cross and Sacred Heart.
None of the next three games will necessarily get the Red Storm ready for its trip to Hartford but its play on the floor can show that it can be competitive against a team that has made its quality opponents look like mid-majors.
“In order to get Big East wins, we have to pick it up and learn things quicker,” Ledlum added.
Rick Pitino has praised the Huskies since his introductory press conference at St. John’s, most recently calling UConn a “machine” but says he has not watched much of the league outside of the Huskies.
Despite that, an opportunity has come upon St. John’s to take advantage of a league that might not be as good as once thought of in the preseason with weaknesses specifically around Villanova and Xavier.
“There’s definitely more urgency in practice,” Ledlum continued.
The continued improved play must continue on Sunday afternoon in the Barclays Center against Boston College (7-3) for the Johnnies because its schedule is not going to provide any more breaks.