Johnnies Ranked for 1st Time in a Decade; Hardy Named Big East Player of the Week - Again | Zagsblog
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Monday / October 2.
  • Johnnies Ranked for 1st Time in a Decade; Hardy Named Big East Player of the Week – Again

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    The good news keeps on coming for St. John’s and senior guard Dwight Hardy.

    After edging No. 4 Pittsburgh, 60-59, Saturday at Madison Square Garden on Hardy’s last-second underhand lay-up, the Johnnies on Monday entered The AP Top 25 at No. 23 — their first national ranking since November 2000.

    “I think it’s a benchmark of achievement for the senior class and naturally it will be helpful in recruiting with the national exposure,” St. John’s coach Steve Lavin told the AP. “It is empirical evidence that their hard work is paying off.”

    Lavin said you try not to have “emotional peaks and valleys and you are always concerned and mindful of complacency. But with this group, with an outstanding work ethic, focus and resolve to finish their careers on a high note.”

    St. John’s (17-9, 9-5 Big East) appears headed to the NCAA tournament for the first time since 2002.

    The Johnnies own home wins over four Top 10 teams — then-No. 9 Notre Dame, then-No. 3 Duke, then-No. 10 UConn and Pitt.

    The Johnnies own the No. 1 strength of schedule in the land.

    “I think it’s an interesting thing that they forged through such a challenging schedule,” Lavin said. “We played eight consecutive games against ranked teams, made three trips to the West Coast. It’s takes pressure, heat and time to make a diamond. It shows how together this group is.”

    St. John’s gives the Big East eight ranked teams, four more than Big 12 and five more than the Big Ten and Southeastern Conference.

    Duke jumped from fifth to No. 1 on Monday after a week that saw the top four teams in the poll all lose. The move to the top is the biggest since Kansas went from sixth to No. 1 in November 2003, the last time the top four all lost in the same week.

    Duke, which was No. 1 in the preseason poll and for the first eight weeks of the regular season, received 35 first-place votes from the 65-member national media panel.

    Five other teams received first-place votes this week, another indication of the parity this season.

    Ohio State stayed No. 2 with 10 first-place votes, while Kansas dropped from No. 1 to third with five first-place votes.

    Pittsburgh, No. 1 on 12 ballots, stayed fourth and Texas, which got one first-place vote, fell two spots to fifth.

    Also on Monday, Hardy was named the Big East Player of the Week for the second straight week.

    The Bronx native averaged 23.5 points, 4.0 steals and 3.5 rebounds in wins at Marquette and over Pitt.


    **Hardy’s last-second shot lifts Johnnies over No. 4 Pitt

    **For Lavin and his staff, it must be the shoes…or sneakers

    (The AP contributed)

    (Photo courtesy Daily News)

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    Adam Zagoria is a Basketball Insider who covers basketball at all levels. A contributor to The New York Times and SportsNet New York (SNY), he is also the author of two books and is an award-winning journalist and filmmaker. His articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide. He also won an Emmy award for his work on the SNY mini-documentary on Syracuse guard Tyus Battle. 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.

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