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May 14, 2013

Red Storm to open hardwood campaign Nov. 8

QUEENS, N.Y.- St. John's head men's basketball coach Steve Lavin announced Tuesday that his talented and dynamic Red Storm squad will begin its 2013-14 campaign at a neutral venue, taking on perennial Big Ten power Wisconsin on Nov. 8 at the soon-to-be-opened, $19-million Pentagon in Sioux Falls, S.D.

The game time and national television information will be announced at a later date.

"Playing a Bo Ryan-coached Badger team gives us an early-season test and an opportunity to get a report card following an offseason that will include a European tour," said Lavin. "Having covered the Big Ten for seven years with ESPN, I developed an appreciation for the cohesive brand of basketball Bo Ryan's teams play. Coach Ryan and I have also partnered in the fight against cancer. We are looking forwarded to competing against Wisconsin and participating in the first-ever college basketball game at The Pentagon in Sioux Falls."

St. John's adds the contest, plus a meeting with NYC Ivy League squad Columbia at Brooklyn's Barclays Center on Saturday, Dec. 28, as part of the second-annual BROOKLYN HOOPS Winter Festival, to a previously-announced non-conference slate that already includes an appearance with Georgia Tech, Ole Miss and Penn State in the second-annual Barclays Center Classicon Nov. 29 and 30, and a meeting with Syracuse at Madison Square Garden on Sunday, Dec. 15.

St. John's complete non-conference schedule will be announced in the early summer. The Red Storm joins Butler, Creighton, DePaul, Georgetown, Marquette, Providence, Seton Hall, Villanova and Xavier in the new BIG EAST Conference for the 2013-14 season.

St. John's is 0-3 against Wisconsin all-time, but the two schools have not met since an 80-70 Badger victory in the 2002 NCAA Tournament in Washington, D.C.'s Verizon Center. South Dakota's new Pentagon by Sanford Health will be a 160,000-square-foot, 3,200-seat facility comprised of nine basketball courts (six high school regulation, two professional/college practice courts and the "heritage" court). While the entire structure features modern design and amenities, the heritage court located in the center of the building will pay homage to 1950s/60s basketball and play host to the Red Storm and Badgers.

The Red Storm and Columbia Lions will tip-off in the first game of the 2013 BROOKLYN HOOPS Winter Festival presented by Honda on Saturday, Dec. 28, which will also include Kansas State vs. Tulane and VCU vs. Boston College. That appearance in Brooklyn comes a month after St. John's Thanksgiving weekend appearance in the Barclays Center Classic with the Yellow Jackets, Rebels and Nittany Lions.

"We are pleased to participate in the 2013 Barclays Center Classic and the BROOKLYN HOOPS Winter Festival. Some of St. John's most-prolific players and loyal fans throughout our storied history have roots that trace back to the borough of Brooklyn," said Lavin. "These events and venue present a nice way to pay homage to that dimension of our legacy and at the same time challenge ourselves against a competitive tournament field."

St. John's meeting with The Orange at The Garden on Sunday, Dec. 15, continues a century-old rivalry. The Red Storm will visit the Carrier Dome during the 2014-15 season on a date to be determined.

"St. John's and Syracuse are two of the storied programs in NCAA history, both with top 10 numbers in overall victories and winning percentage. The Johnnies and Cuse rivalry is now more than a century old and deserves to continue," said Lavin. "We are pleased to extend the series, with a date set for our home court at Madison Square Garden next season, and a 2014-15 meeting at the Carrier Dome, two of the great venues in college basketball."

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