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St. John’s is Headed to The Big Dance

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St. John’s is Headed to The Big Dance

Torch Photo/Amanda Negretti

Torch Photo/Amanda Negretti

Torch Photo/Amanda Negretti

Brendan Myers, Sports Editor

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Despite stumbling into post-season play, St. John’s is headed back to the NCAA Tournament for the first time since the 2014-15 season after receiving one of the final at-large bids to head to the NCAA’s Big Dance.

Albeit last minute, but St. John’s will be playing Arizona State in one of the First Four games. If they beat the Sun Devils, they will then take on Buffalo.

“We didn’t end the season the way we wanted to but this is a new opportunity,” Marvin Clark II said after the NCAA Selection show on Sunday evening.

The Johnnies breezed through non-conference play with a record of 12-0 before an ultimately disappointing conference season, finishing with an 8-10 record in Big East play.

After finishing in seventh place in the conference as a result of a late-season skid, the Johnnies picked up one of the most vital wins of the season on Wednesday night of the Big East Tournament against DePaul, finishing with an 82-74 scoreline. The team then had a chance to bolster their résumé with a third victory against Marquette, but fell short.

A signature win against Marquette would have allowed the Red Storm to be more comfortable heading into Sunday’s NCAA selection show, but fans were forced into almost three long days of waiting.

The Johnnies were helped by a slew of bubble results in other conferences to help St. John’s squeeze into the tournament.

Favorites Buffalo took care of tournament hopeful Bowling Green in the Mid-American Conference semi-finals, and victories from Houston and Cincinnati over bubble-dwellers Memphis and Wichita State undoubtedly helped St. John’s.

The biggest factors in favor of St. John’s proved to be their two regular-season victories over Marquette and one victory over the recently crowned Big East Tournament Champions, the Villanova Wildcats. What was worrying for St. John’s fans was a combined 1-5 record over Butler, DePaul and Providence — the three teams that finished in the bottom three of the conference

this season.

St. John’s and Arizona State played last year in Los Angeles with Arizona State coming away victorious by a score of 82-70.

Shamorie Ponds and Clark II were the only two players from St. John’s to score in double-digit figures that day that are still on the Red Storm roster. Tariq Owens scored 17 points in that contest but has since transferred to Texas Tech for his graduate season.

The Sun Devils come in with a record of 22-10 overall and 12-6 coming out of the Pac-12 conference. Led by Luguentz Dort, who averages just over 16 points per game, fans can expect an up-tempo affair. The Sun Devils score almost 78 points per game, compared to the Johnnies’ 77.5.

St. John’s will also need to be wary of the Sun Devils’ cerebral point guard, Remy Martin. The sophomore floor general was second in the Pac-12 with an average of 5.9 assists per game, while averaging less than two turnovers per game.

Who the Johnnies need to focus their attention is on Zylan Cheatham. Cheatham averages a double-double (11 points and more than 10 rebounds per game). The 6-foot-8 transfer from San Diego State led the conference in rebounding over the course of this season.

Arizona State likely fell in seeding as a result of a stigma against Pac-12 basketball this year, but Head Coach and New Jersey native Bobby Hurley’s squad is battle-tested.

They  own wins over fellow tournament teams Utah State, Mississippi State and Washington and a marquee victory at home over Kansas in December.

The Sun Devils, much like St. John’s, dropped games that they should have won. They lost at home to Princeton and lost to Washington State, who finished 4-14 in the Pac-12 by 21 points.

St. John’s last played in the NCAA Tournament in 2015 during  Steve Lavin’s final season at the helm in Queens.

The Red Storm received the ninth seed but ultimately fell to San Diego State.The Johnnies have not won an NCAA Tournament game since 2000.

 

Despite stumbling into post-season play, St. John’s is headed back to the NCAA Tournament for the first time since the 2014-15 season after receiving one of the final at-large bids to head to the NCAA’s Big Dance.

Albeit last minute, but St. John’s will be playing Arizona State in one of the First Four games. If they beat the Sun Devils, they will then take on Buffalo.

“We didn’t end the season the way we wanted to but this is a new opportunity,” Marvin Clark II said after the NCAA Selection show on Sunday evening.

The Johnnies breezed through non-conference play with a record of 12-0 before an ultimately disappointing conference season, finishing with an 8-10 record in Big East play.

After finishing in seventh place in the conference as a result of a late-season skid, the Johnnies picked up one of the most vital wins of the season on Wednesday night of the Big East Tournament against DePaul, finishing with an 82-74 scoreline. The team then had a chance to bolster their résumé with a third victory against Marquette, but fell way short after losing 86-54 in the Big East quarterfinals. A signature win against Marquette would have allowed the Red Storm to be more comfortable heading into Sunday’s NCAA selection show, but fans were forced into almost three long days of waiting.

The Johnnies were helped by a slew of bubble results in other conferences to help St. John’s squeeze into the tournament. Favorites Buffalo took care of tournament hopeful Bowling Green in the Mid-American Conference semi-finals, and victories from Houston and Cincinnati over bubble-dwellers Memphis and Wichita State undoubtedly helped St. John’s.

The biggest factors in favor of St. John’s proved to be their two regular-season victories over Marquette and one victory over the recently crowned Big East Tournament Champions, the Villanova Wildcats. What was worrying for St. John’s fans was a combined 1-5 record over Butler, DePaul and Providence — the three teams that finished in the bottom three of the conference this season.

St. John’s and Arizona State played last year in Los Angeles at a neutral site, with Arizona State — who was undefeated and nationally ranked at that time — coming away victorious by a score of 82-70.

Shamorie Ponds and Clark II were the only two players from St. John’s to score in double-digit figures that day that are still on the Red Storm roster. Tariq Owens scored 17 points in that contest but has since transferred to Texas Tech for his graduate season.

The Sun Devils come in with a record of 22-10 overall and 12-6 coming out of the Pac-12 conference. Led by NBA hopeful Luguentz Dort, who averages just over 16 points per game, fans can expect an up-tempo affair. The Sun Devils score almost 78 points per game, compared to the Johnnies’ 77.5.

St. John’s will also need to be wary of the Sun Devils’ cerebral point guard, Remy Martin. The sophomore floor general was second in the Pac-12 with an average of 5.9 assists per game, while averaging less than two turnovers per game.

Who the Johnnies need to focus their attention is on Zylan Cheatham. Cheatham averages a double-double (11 points and more than 10 rebounds per game). The 6-foot-8 transfer from San Diego State led the conference in rebounding over the course of this season.

Arizona State likely fell in seeding as a result of a stigma against Pac-12 basketball this year, but Head Coach and New Jersey native Bobby Hurley’s squad is battle-tested. They  own wins over fellow tournament teams Utah State, Mississippi State and Washington and a marquee victory at home over Kansas in December.

The Sun Devils, much akin to St. John’s, dropped some games that they should have won, which also probably knocked them into the play-in game Wednesday night. They lost at home to Princeton and lost to Washington State, who finished 4-14 in the Pac-12 by 21 points.

The new system the NCAA selection committee uses favored the Johnnies, as the team racked up five “Quad-1” wins throughout the season. The new system stresses the importance of results at neutral sites and road games.

St. John’s last played in the NCAA Tournament in 2015 during  Steve Lavin’s final season at the helm in Queens. The Red Storm received the ninth seed but ultimately fell to San Diego State.The Johnnies have not  won a NCAA Tournament game since 2000, when Ron Artest and co., coached by Mike Jarvis, beat Northern Arizona in the first round.

 

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Brendan Myers, Sports Editor

Brendan Myers is a junior journalism major with a minor in sport management. He spent his sophomore year as both a staff writer and Assistant Sports Editor...

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St. John’s is Headed to The Big Dance