St. John's basketball, New Mexico inching closer to agreement on MSG showdown

The Pitino's could be getting much closer to a family affair next season at The Garden
Mar 22, 2024; Memphis, TN, USA; St. John’s basketball coach Rick Pitino applauds from the
Mar 22, 2024; Memphis, TN, USA; St. John’s basketball coach Rick Pitino applauds from the / John David Mercer-USA TODAY Sports

The St. John's basketball program could be getting set to host a family affair next season as the Red Storm and New Mexico are in talks to play at Madison Square Garden, according to reports.

It would put Rick Pitino against his son, Richard, but also a Big East school against a Mountain West opponent after the league that hosts the back-to-back National Champions only got three teams in the NCAA Tournament compared to six from the prominent conference on the west coast.

CBSSports was the first to report the talks involving the two programs about playing next season.

St. John's has only played New Mexico three times in program history, winning each game, but its last meeting was during the 1999-00 season. The programs have not played at Madison Square Garden since 1964-65.

Rick Pitino has coached against his son during their career's, most recently while he was at Iona two years ago as the Gaels fell on the road, 82-74.

Pitino traveled to New Mexico this season to see the Lobos in late January while also making trip to the NCAA Tournament, seeing a 21-point loss against Clemson.

Richard Pitino was in New York for St. John's victory over Creighton.

There is no date for the potential game due to scheduling at Madison Square Garden and waiting for next season's New York Knicks and New York Rangers dates to be released.

St. John's could be preparing themselves for a daunting challenge in non-conference games during the 2024-25 season, already playing two games against Baylor, Tennessee, or Virginia plus its final game in the Big East vs. Big 12 Challenge.

Rick Pitino accepted Mark Pope's request for a home-and-home series with Kentucky on social media this week, although nothing has been finalized, and he has floated the idea of playing Alabama at The Garden.