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

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 RantSports.com. Follow him on Twitter, “Like” him on Facebook or add him to your network on Google.

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