Analyst projects St. John’s basketball trending towards NCAA Tournament

St. John's basketball guard Greg Williams Jr. (Photo by Steven Ryan/Getty Images)
St. John's basketball guard Greg Williams Jr. (Photo by Steven Ryan/Getty Images) /

A respected college basketball analyst and insider projects the St. John’s basketball program to be in contention for the NCAA Tournament.

As the college basketball season came to an end, St. John’s was one of the hottest teams in the country.

The Red Storm defeated then No. 10 Creighton 91-71 in Queens, followed by a victory over Marquette at Madison Square Garden, with a loss sandwiched in between against Butler, but the postseason came around and the Johnnies were ready to go.

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Looking down and out against Georgetown in the Big East Tournament, St. John’s ended the game on a 23-0 run to win 75-62 and were leading Creighton at halftime of the quarterfinals before the tournament was canceled.

Ultimately, the Johnnies ended its season with a 17-15 record (5-13 Big East) and were floating on and off the NCAA Tournament bubble for a large portion of the season.

The late season surge preserved record of head coach Mike Anderson who has never seen losing season as a Division I head coach.

Anderson will be losing three key contributors from his first season in Queens, Mustapha Heron (graduation), Nick Rutherford (graduate student), and LJ Figueroa (transfer).

Arguably three of the best and most important players for the Red Storm at certain parts of the season in 2019-20, but now the players that remain with the program have the chance to step up into leadership roles and take the reins heading into 2020-21.

Because of the canceled NCAA Tournament in 2020, all records remain in tact from 2019, and St. John’s is looking to make back-to-back NCAA Tournament appearances since the 1999 and 2000 seasons.

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Under head coach Chris Mullin, the Red Storm made the First Four in 2019, making the Big Dance for the first time since 2015 and only the fifth time since the turn of the century.

However, college basketball insider, analyst, and reporter Andy Katz released his first bracket projection for the NCAA Tournament and he has the Red Storm going back to Dayton, Ohio in the First Four.

Katz has No. 12 seeded St. John’s facing Cincinnati, which is ironic because the two teams were scheduled to participate in the Preseason NIT, but the Red Storm opted out of the event because it is being held in the college basketball bubble in Orlando, Florida.

If the Red Storm were to win this projected game, they would travel to Dallas to face No. 5 seed UCLA.

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Unfortunately for the Johnnies, other bracketologists are not has high on them as Andy Katz as ESPN bracketologist Joe Lunardi does not have St. John’s in his field of 68, nor on the bubble.

Due to COVID-19 and the issues it is causing around scheduling, fans still do not know who St. John’s will face this season, when they will be playing, and where, but Mike Anderson has the tools to reach toe NCAA Tournament, now it’s up to him to utilize them in the proper way.