This is march. Every college basketball fan’s favorite time of the year. For St. John’s fans, spirits are down as we fall on the outside looking in to this year’s NCAA March Madness Tournament. Let’s break down what needs to happen for us to get into this year’s tournament. According to teamrankings.com, we have a 5.9% chance of making a tournament appearance this year.
Let me remind you that in March, a 1% chance is all you need in order to make something happen. Just a couple of weeks ago, every bracket expert had us right on the bubble. An embarrassing loss at home to DePaul immediately dropped us from any consideration.
St. John’s has an opportunity to make something special happen down the stretch and give us something to root for this March Madness.
Protect the Home Floor
St. John’s finishes the regular season with two home games against Providence (3/3) and Seton Hall (3/6). These are two very winnable games that can build momentum headed into the Big East Tourney.
The last time St. John’s faced Providence, we took it to them on their home floor. Led by Julian Champagnie (24 PTS & 10 REB), the Johnnies tallied 92 points and won in convincing fashion. Posh Alexander chipped in 21 points that afternoon, while Rasheem Dunn notched a double-double with 13 points and 10 assists. The win against Providence was the last win of St. John’s 6-game win streak that ended a few days later against Butler.
It has been nearly three months since we last took on Seton Hall. On December 11th we traveled to Newark for our first Big East regular season game and suffered a nine-point loss to the Pirates. Sandro Mamukelashvili led the way for Seton Hall that night as he scored a career high 32-points and also grabbed 9 rebounds. Stopping him was nearly impossible that night and I am sure that has to be the focus for Mike Anderson this coming Saturday. Like I said before, both of these games are extremely winnable. The last time we took on Seton Hall we hadn’t yet discovered our identity. Posh Alexander only had six points and zero assists that night, we all know a performance like that won’t happen again. The Johnnies look much different now then they did back in December and I’m confident we can take it to them this Saturday.
The Big East Tournament
In my opinion, winning two games in the Big East Tournament would put us back in the conversation with the Bubble teams for the tournament. If we can somehow put a run together and manage to get to the final game, then I think we are in. Now, I know this might sounds like a big stretch, but try and be a believer with me here for a second. On February 3rd, we proved that we can beat anyone in this league when we beat down Villanova for the entire 40 minutes. IF (and this is a big if) we can string together a couple of performances like that one down the stretch, we can and we will make some noise this season.
It ain’t over ’til the fat lady sings. We ride.