St. John’s basketball still in position for NCAA Tournament bid after loss

St. John's basketball (Photo by Mitchell Layton/Getty Images)
St. John's basketball (Photo by Mitchell Layton/Getty Images) /

St. John’s basketball is still in great position for an NCAA Tournament bid after its loss. 

The sky is not falling for the St. John’s basketball program in Queens after its most recent loss to the Butler Bulldogs (7-10, 6-8 Big East).

St. John’s (13-8, 7-7 Big East) entered Tuesday night’s game riding a six game winning streak and after after a beatdown of then No. 3 Villanova the conversation around a potential NCAA Tournament bid was sparked.

That chatter was only enhanced with a road victory over Providence, following the victory over the Wildcats, and the chances of an at-large bid for St. John’s is not dead after a loss to the Bulldogs.

Yes, a gritty win would have eased a lot of minds as the Johnnies raced out to a 16-point lead as Butler slowly chipped away and eventually pulled out the victory in overtime.

Losing double-digit leads are a major point of concern going forward as St. John’s has held such leads in three of its last four games, all to see those advantages eventually disappear.

However, the focus on those blown leads is heightened in losses over victories.

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Now back to the NCAA Tournament, St. John’s is currently in sixth place in the Big East Conference, it still could play four of the five teams it’s looking up at in the standings, all projected as NCAA Tournament teams.

The only program the Red Storm will not play is the No. 19 Creighton Blue Jays, who have already swept the Johnnies this season.

Games against Villanova, Seton Hall, Xavier, and UConn are still ahead for the Red Storm.

St. John’s could still play UConn at Carnesecca Arena if the two programs, and the Big East, find an agreed upon date to set the rematch between the two rivals.

If the Johnnies play the Huskies, three of those four games against the top teams in the conference would be in Queens, a place where the Red Storm have thrived this season.

St. John’s basketball and the NCAA Tournament metrics

Despite Butler’s sub-.500 record both in the conference and overall, it’s still only a Quadrant 2 loss for St. John’s.

St. John’s has a combined record of 4-7 in Quad 1 & 2 games with a 9-1 record in Quad 3 & 4 games, according to the NCAA’s NET Rankings where the Johnnies are No. 70, falling from No. 64 after its loss to Butler.

At the moment, the Johnnies have one Quad 1 game left on the road against Villanova, three Quad 2 games left against at home Seton Hall, Xavier, and UConn, one Quad 3 game at home against Providence, and one Quad 4 game at home against DePaul.

Games against Providence and DePaul are must wins and then St. John’s has its work cut out for itself in the rest of its games against the higher class teams in the Big East.

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Teams and subsequent games can move quadrants throughout the season as programs fluctuate in the NCAA’s NET Rankings.

As for Ken Pom Rankings which people love to use in terms of separating teams, that’s much more scrambled.

St. John’s (13-8) is ranked as the No. 69 team in KenPom.

Duke (7-8) is ranked at No. 43 and Kentucky (5-13) is ranked at No. 60.

Maybe not the best metic to go by.

The sky is not falling in Queens. If fact, it’s not even close to falling.

St. John’s still controls its own destiny. If the team wins four of its final six games it will be in the NCAA Tournament.

That quest for March is scheduled to resume on Tuesday, February 16 against the Xavier Musketeers (11-2, 4-2 Big East) in Carnesecca Arena.

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