Here are some schedule highlights and games of note:
March 28: Providence; April 4: at Marquette; April 11: Denver; April 18: at Villanova; April 25: at Georgetown
St. John's has resided in the top half of the country over the last two seasons but has had their experiments explode on the laboratory table in both 2013 and 2014 due miscalculations in their formulas. Strong seasons without league tournament appearances -- the Johnnies' existence the last two years -- has a somewhat defining effect on a program's volition, and the Red Storm's presence in that situation is due to two unfortunate events: A head-to-head overtime loss to Georgetown in Bethpage, New York kept St. John's out of the 2013 Big East Tournament and the sharp edge of the conference's tiebreaker methodology cut the Johnnies out of the 2014 Big East Tournament.
Despite facing a year of transition (the Red Storm lost their monster attack in Kieran McArdle, Colin Keegan, and Kevin Cernuto, not to mention other assets that helped push the Johnnies into the nation's consciousness), the pressure is on St. John's to create a May adventure if the Johnnies find themselves in the mix for a bid. The only rock-solid participant in this coming spring's Big East Tournament is probably Denver, which means that the Storm will throw hands with the rest of the league to carve out space for an opportunity to make something important happen. These dates are not cans of corn for St. John's, but they will come at a valuable point of the season for the Johnnies: The team's Big East dates are all loaded on the back-end of the Red Storm's schedule, allowing St. John's time to find their purpose throughout February and most of March. A return to the Big East Tournament isn't assured for the Johnnies, but a trip to Villanova at the end of the year would signal something of value for the program.
Sort-of-New York City v. Sort-of-Long Island
March 17: at Hofstra
St. John's and Hofstra are located 17 miles apart, a mere 20-minute ride on some of the worst roads in the nation. The closeness of the programs to each other -- one in a borough of New York that almost resembles a Long Island suburb; the other on Long Island but almost resembling a suburban reach of a New York borough -- has the potential to excite a rivalry that could capture the affection of the region's lacrosse-infatuated sociopaths. The Pride hold a decided advantage in the series history, but that fact may not imply what the future holds: Hofstra's 12-4 record against St. John's is built -- in large part -- on the Pride's domination of the Johnnies from 1981 through 1995 (Hofstra went 9-1 against the Red Storm in the first iteration of St. John's lacrosse); since the Johnnies rebooted their program in 2005 after a 10-year hibernation, Hofstra is only 3-2 against the Storm and have lost the last two meetings against their neighbors to the west.
In any event, all can agree that anything west of New Jersey is probably Russia.