St. John's basketball non-conference schedule with daunting stretch before soft close

The Red Storm will be tested before Big East play begins this season
Jan 24, 2024; New York, New York, USA;  St. John's basketball forward Brady Dunlap at Madison Square Garden
Jan 24, 2024; New York, New York, USA; St. John's basketball forward Brady Dunlap at Madison Square Garden / Wendell Cruz-USA TODAY Sports

The St. John's basketball program officially announced its non-conference schedule for the upcoming season as the Johnnies look to return to the NCAA Tournament in the second year under head coach Rick Pitino.

The Red Storm struggled out of the gates last season as early season losses to Michigan, Dayton, and Boston College eventually cost the squad a chance at a postseason berth.

With a returning core of RJ Luis, Zuby Ejiofor, Simeon Wilcher, and Brady Dunlap, Pitino is hoping to yield better results in the first two months of the season and not put as much pressure on his team in Big East play to earn a bid.

St. John's season will begin with a trio of matchups inside Carnesecca Arena against Fordham (November 4), Quinnipiac (Nov. 9), and Wagner (Nov. 13). The Johnnies dominated the Rams last season inside Madison Square Garden, 77-55, while not having met the Bobcats since 2001.

Wagner is coming off a NEC Title and NCAA Tournament victory in the First Four before losing to North Carolina in the Round of 64.

The Johnnies will then play its only scheduled game at The Garden of the non-conference slate on November 17 against New Mexico as Richard Pitino, Rick's son, returns to the Empire State after leading the Lobos to a Mountain West Championship and NCAA Tournament a season ago.

It begins a brutal stretch in the Red Storm schedule with a trip to the Bahamas for three games on November 21. Opponents are yet to be set for the Baha Mar Hoops Challenge but St. John's will play two of Virginia, Baylor, or Tennesse.

Its final game will be played on Paradise Island in Atlantis against Georgia (Nov. 24).

St. John's returns home for its next four games of non-conference play, all likely to be played in Queens, beginning with Harvard on November 30.

A marquee opponent in Kansas State, a matchup in the Big East vs. Big 12 Battle, comes to New York on December 7. A venue has not been announced for the game, but is currently seems more likely that it will be played inside Carnesecca Arena rather than Madison Square Garden.

Bryant (Dec. 11) and Delaware (Dec. 28) complete the non-conference schedule although the expectation is that at least one league game could be scheduled between those two dates. St. John's played two Big East games last season before its non-league slate concluded on December 30.

The Red Storm landed several impact transfers this offseason, including Seton Hall point guard Kadary Richmond and Utah guard Devion Smith, that will look to fill the void of several departures from the roster.