St. John’s basketball still has very important games left in regular season

St. John's basketball (Photo by Porter Binks/Getty Images)
St. John's basketball (Photo by Porter Binks/Getty Images) /

St. John’s basketball team still has very important games left in regular season. 

The hope was for the St. John’s basketball team to make the postseason prior to the 2020-21 season.

Earning a bid into the NIT was a realistic goal and the possibility of the NCAA Tournament seemed far-fetched in November but if the Johnnies got the things to fall its way the Big Dance certainly was an achievable benchmark.

After a 1-5 start in conference play St. John’s (14-10, 8-9 Big East) looked dead in the water, perhaps missing the postseason in its entirety.

Then the Red Storm got hot, winning six games in a row and a stretch of seven of eight games.

Its streak was highlighted by an 11-point victory over then No. 3 Villanova, sparking rumblings of earning an at-large bid into the NCAA Tournament.

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Following its win over the Wildcats, the Johnnies had a two game road trip against Providence and Butler. St. John’s had the chance to sweep the trip before late game miscues forced St. John’s into overtime where it eventually fell to the Bulldogs.

One game later after a victory over Xavier, the Red Storm entered a ‘can’t lose’ situation against lowly DePaul and the Johnnies did exactly that, falling 88-83 at home to the Blue Demons. The loss essentially erased all hope at an at-large bid to the NCAA Tournament.

However, even after a 23-point loss to No. 8 Villanova in its rematch, St. John’s still has important games to be played in the regular season.

The Johnnies host Providence and Seton Hall to close out the season prior to the Big East Tournament, and those two regular season games are vitally important outings for St. John’s.

St. John’s basketball postseason hopes

It is a long shot for the Johnnies to make the NCAA Tournament.

Defeating the Friars and Pirates and making it to the Big East Tournament Championship Game might not be enough.

St. John’s might have to run the table at Madison Square Garden to go dancing and while that should be the goal, earning any type of postseason bid should also be achievable.

The NIT will be different this season.

John Feinstein reported in mid-February that the tournament will be trimmed down from 32 to 16 teams this season and it will exclusively be played in the New York area.

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Mid-major teams that win the regular season championship but not its conference tournament will not get an automatic to the NIT this year, leaving the possibility for more major conference teams to continue its season.

Given how St. John’s is trending, it’s possible that the Johnnies could miss the NIT which would cast a dark cloud over the strange season.

It was so close to an NCAA bid and to miss the NIT? That would be extremely disappointing.

It all starts with getting back to its defensive roots against Providence on Wednesday, March 3 in Queens and seeing where things go from there.

Yes, the NCAA Tournament is still the goal, but the NIT should not be looked down upon within the St. John’s program or within its fan base.

Making the postseason would be a great building block and learning experience with a young, inexperience roster entering the third season under head coach Mike Anderson in 2021-22.

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