It brings me great pleasure to welcome you to the first edition of the Metropolitan Poll! New York has always had a history of being the epicenter of the basketball world, with a rich in history in college basketball both in it's programs and in the NIT. This poll, conducted by writers here at House Enterprise, is a celebration of that history. Here are the results from our first poll, a review of some of the teams we've seen so far, as well as what's to come this week.
House Enterprise Metro Poll: Week 3
Teams in the chart below are listed by their total points in the poll. Their overall record is shown right next to the team name, alongside their Metro Record, which is how they fare against other teams in the poll. Finally, the individual votes of our polled writers can be seen further to the right.
St. John's Takes Their Rightful Place on Top
Every single one of our analysts placed the Johnnies at the top of their poll, and trust me, they deserve the top spot. Off to one of their best starts in years, the Red Storm are racking up key non-conference victories before they head into one of the best Big East conferences we've seen in a decade. Aside from Boston College, most of the teams St. John's have beaten have not been too much of a challenge, but their dominance over these middle-tier schools has been what tipped our pollsters off.
Sunday's game against Stony Brook was no exception, as the Johnnies quickly bounced back from an early 6-point deficit with a whopping 30-2 run of their own, lasting through the first half and into the second. While most of the games for St. John's so far have starred the Brooklyn native guard combo of Posh Alexander and Julian Champagnie, plenty of players throughout this deep roster find ways to shine. Such was the case on Sunday with junior guard Gregg Williams Jr., who posted 21 points, 4 rebounds, and 6 steals.
While this team should look to carry this momentum as far as they can into conference play, an NIT appearance is a very attainable goal for the Johnnies right now.
The Return of Pitino
I feel like we're in the beginning of a cheesy basketball movie, where a disgraced coach leads a mid-major school on a miracle run to the tournament. If you're to ask me where we are in that movie, it's the early middle, right before we get a fun montage of the team winning some games and getting into some basketball related hijinks.
In our first inter-Metro Poll matchup of the season, Head Coach Rick Pitino proved why he should be back on a college court when his Iona Gaels took down the Hofstra Pride 82-74 on Saturday, his first win since the first round of the 2017 NCAA Tournament with Louisville. Senior Isaiah Ross seemed to have no problem adjusting to his new coach, as he scored a career high 33 points, shooting 6-for-12 from 3-point range.
Looking towards the rest of the season, Pitino's immediate impact on the Gaels is two-fold. The two major things that Pitino brings to any program is a) solid recruiting classes and b)excellent defense. Both were on display against Hofstra, with rookies like Ryan Myers getting in on the scoring action, and Pitino's classic 2-3 pressure limiting the Pride at every opportunity.
Looking Ahead, Teams Still To Begin
This week, we're going to see three more teams from the five boroughs begin their 2020-21 campaign, all in the Northeast Conference. Look for a preview of what's to come this weekend in Volume 1.5 of the Metropolitan Poll on Friday:
We'll get a Tuesday NEC double-header as Wagner heads to Seton Hall at 5 and St. Francis hosts Bryant at 7. Wagner brings forth one of their deepest rosters ever, while St. Francis will look to carry over the success of last season without their power duo of Keith Braxton and Isaiah Blackmon.
In their second year as the Sharks, LIU opens their season ranked second in the conference preseason poll. They will look to take their efficiency in fast break offense and their solid three point shooting against Merrimack on Thursday.