After Thanksgiving, we're commencing a "fun" project here at The Sports Section: We're going to go see every New York City college basketball team play a home game. (First up: Next Thursday, Central Connecticut State at St. Francis. Feel the excitement.) Most of these teams will be horrible, a couple (Long Island, Columbia) could be decent, but we're mostly excited about St. John's.
The Big East is off to a splendid start, but it's still not at the level it was last year, and the Red Storm are better than they were last year. Blue Ribbon says, "If you're looking for a dark horse in the Big East, look no further than Jamaica. This is Norm Roberts's deepest, most experienced, and most talented squad since he took over the program," and we take their word for it, because of Blue Ribbon's past exemplary work with 4-H judging and with domestic beer.
St. John's is off to a 3–0 start, but they haven't beaten anybody that good, and they just sneaked by St. Bonaventure and Brown. Friday evening, 5:30 p.m., they have their stiffest test yet, playing Siena — who were ranked in the top 25 preseason and beat Ohio State in the NCAA first round — at the Palestra in Philadelphia. Then they play Temple the next night. If St. John's can split, or perhaps even sweep, there will be considerable reason for optimism. If they're swept, that yearly game against Duke — coming up December 5 — might be even uglier than usual.
It would be nice for St. John's basketball to swoop up and inspire the city again. By the end of the weekend, we'll know whether it can.