If the Big East Tournament started today, St. John’s would be the No. 6 seed and would face a quarterfinal rematch with No. 3 Xavier, the same team that beat the Johnnies, 65-53, last night at Madison Square Garden.
If the Johnnies get past Xavier, they would likely get No. 2 Villanova in the semifinals, the same Villanova team that is 2-0 against St. John’s this season.
And if St. John’s were to win that game as well, they would likely face No. 1 Creighton in the championship game March 15.
The Johnnies appear to match up better against the Bluejays than many other teams in the league, having split their two games this season, with the loss at Creighton coming down to a Dougie McBuckets 3-pointer in the final seconds.
Still, if things remain as they are in the standings, the Johnnies would have to take out the No. 1-2-3 teams in the league in three successive nights.
At this point, St. John’s probably has to at least get to the final to insure an NCAA Tournament bid.
ESPN’s Joe Lunardi had St. John’s among his Last Four In, but that was before last night’s loss.
Jerry Palm of CBSSports.com told SNY.tv. “St. John’s hasn’t been in my bracket yet.”
One thing’s for sure.
The Johnnies don’t have any margin for error. They need to close out the regular season with wins over DePaul Sunday at the Garden and then on the road at Marquette before the Big East Tournament begins.
If they fall into the No. 7 spot in the Big East, they would have to win four games in four nights to win the conference tournament.
“We have a lot of basketball left,” guard Phil Greene IV told reporters. “We’re going to be prepared and ready so we can make the NCAA Tournament.”
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Adam Zagoria is a New York Times contributor and Basketball Insider who covers basketball at all levels. He is the author of two books and is an award-winning journalist whose articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Sports Illustrated, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide.
A veteran Ultimate Frisbee player, he has competed in numerous National and World Championships and, perhaps more importantly, his teams won the Westchester Summer League (WSL) championships in 2011 and 2013.
He lives in Manhattan with his wife and children.