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St. John’s Blows Opportunity to Solidify NCAA Tourney Spot

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Steve Lavin

Dave Weaver-USA TODAY Sports

The St. John’s Red Storm came into Saturday’s game against Villanova riding high with a six-game winning streak. Despite sitting at 18-9 and 8-6 in Big East conference play, ESPN’s Bracketology has the Red Storm teetering on the edge of the NCAA tournament.

Their only signature win this season came against Creighton and defeating the Wildcats on the road could have been the resume-boosting victory that St. John’s needed.

The Red Storm played Villanova close and tough throughout the entire game, but ultimately fell to the ninth-ranked team in the country by a final score of 57-54.

Darrun Hilliard II was the high scorer for the Cats, finishing with 18 points. Teammate Daniel Ochefu was a force on the boards as he grabbed 11 to go along with his five points. Overall, this was one of the more uglier games that you’ll see on the offensive end. Both teams each shot under 40 percent from the field.

Three-point shooting could have been the difference-maker in this one as the Johnnies finished just 27 percent from behind the arc. The Steve Lavin-led group also failed to capitalize effectively on the 15 turnovers that they forced.

When Selection Sunday rolls around in just a few short weeks, the Red Storm could be sweating as they wait for their name to be announced.

They may look back at this game against the Wildcats as a missed opportunity to become an NCAA tourney lock. St. John’s has three regular season games left, but none that would significantly increase their tourney odds.

Therefore, a deep run in the Big East Conference Tournament now appears to be a necessity.

Schuyler Machcinski is a writer for Follow him on Twitter, “Like” him on Facebook or add him to your network on Google.

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NCAA Tournament Profile: St. John's Red Storm

Record: 21-11

RPI: 37

BPI: 51

Conference: Big East Conference

How They Qualified: At-Large Berth

Region: No. 9 seed in South


The St. John’s Red Storm have been a tough puzzle to solve ever since Steve Lavin took over as head coach. Lavin has recruited like a boss, but his teams simply have not met expectations. Well, his team didn’t blow us all away this year, but it will be partaking in the 2015 NCAA tournament. It is all about those baby steps.

This is the Red Storm’s first appearance since 2011. Needless to say, the team was well overdue.


What You Need to Know:

Leading Scorer: D’Angelo Harrison (17.5 PPG)

Leading Rebounder: Sir’Dominic Pointer (7.6 RPG)

Leading Passer: Rysheed Jordan (3.1 APG)

Bad Losses: DePaul, Creighton, Seton Hall

Good Wins: Providence (twice), Xavier (twice), Syracuse, Georgetown


If everything comes together, St. John’s could be one of the biggest surprises of the tournament. That may be asking for a lot, though. This team did lose 11 times on the season.

If you are looking for a player who can score at will, look no further than D’Angelo Harrison. Harrison is a senior, so you better believe he will be playing every game like it is his last because … well, every game could realistically be his last. Fun fact: Harrison has averaged over 16 points per game all four years at St. John’s — he is the real deal, folks.

St. John’s wasn’t the most consistent team in the country, so it will be interesting to see which Red Storm team shows up — the one that lost three in a row at one point, or the one that started the season off with an 11-1 record.

The St. John’s Red Storm are dancing!

Trevor Lowry is a Content Associate at If you’re a tweeter feel free to follow him @TheTrevorLowry, “Like” him on Facebook or add him to your network on Google.

Will this finally be the year that Steve Lavin coaches his St. John's Red Storm on a deep run? Whether the case, they enter the dance with some talent.

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