The St. John’s men’s basketball team is on the verge of making it back to the Big East tournament for the first time since 2003.
Not to jump the gun, but, if the postseason berth does indeed come to fruition, congratulations are in order. Throughout the season, there was plenty of doubt and frustration but if this team can make the Big East tournament, they will have something to show for the year’s body of work.
Just an appearance might not seem like much, but for St. John’s, it is a big step in the right direction. In this space last week, I addressed some negative qualities that come with being a St. John’s basketball team. There is also one major positive, though: the opportunity to reclaim glory.
So how can the Johnnies do it? Well, just win one of the two remaining games. The lone scenario in which St. John’s misses out on the Big East tournament is if:
1. The Red Storm loses both remaining Big East games against Louisville and Providence and…
2. Seton Hall wins remaining three Big East games against South Florida, Cincinnati, and Louisville.
As far as St. John’s is concerned, South Florida, Rutgers, and Cincinnati are out of the running since they hold the tiebreaker over each team.
The injury-racked women’s team also has a solid, but not as good, chance at the tournament, which could give St. John’s a double appearance in the postseason. Though they are currently in position to earn a spot, the road will not be as easy.
To clinch a spot they must:
1. Win both remaining games against Seton Hall and No. 19 Marquette or…
2. Win no remaining games, but Providence, Syracuse, and Georgetown lose remaining games or…
3. Win one game, Providence and Syracuse win only one and Georgetown wins only two.
For both of the St. John’s teams, their fate is in their hands. The women, however, made it all the way to the NCAA Tournament last year. The upperclassmen of the team know postseason play.
For the men, though, this is a chance at a new opportunity for some of its players who have not had the experience yet and who will not get another shot. Seniors like Lamont Hamilton can get their first (and last) taste of collegiate postseason play.It would also be a stamp of approval for coach Norm Roberts. The win total has gone up, but no one seems to notice that unless there is more solid marker of success. A postseason berth would do just that.
It can be decided as early as today. If St. John’s can beat Louisville away, the discussion will be over, they would have locked up their seventh win and clinched a Big East spot. Last season, it came down to the last game and St. John’s was defeated by Rutgers at home. The team, especially the seniors, left the court dejected with a disheartened applause of farewells.
This season was different-St. John’s took a close game against the team that knocked them out. Perhaps that trend will continue and in this new season, the ending will be different as well.