Ed Cooley says St. John's basketball team is 'clearly' an NCAA Tournament team

The Georgetown had high praise for the Red Storm after its second meeting of the season

Mar 9, 2024; New York, New York, USA; Georgetown Hoyas head coach Ed Cooley argues over a call in
Mar 9, 2024; New York, New York, USA; Georgetown Hoyas head coach Ed Cooley argues over a call in / Wendell Cruz-USA TODAY Sports

Ed Cooley knows what an NCAA Tournament team looks like and he sees it in the St. John's basketball team.

The Georgetown head coach, who made the Big Dance seven times during his career with Providence, said the Johnnies are "clearly" a tournament squad after the Red Storm's 86-78 victory over the Hoyas on Saturday afternoon at Madison Square Garden.

"They are playing their best basketball coming down the stretch," Cooley continued. "I think Coach Pitino has done a great job rallying his guys."

It marked the fifth consecutive victory for St. John's that has the program firmly in the mix for its first NCAA Tournament berth since 2019.

Creighton head coach Greg McDermott also said he saw a team worthy of an NCAA bid after the Johnnies defeated the Bluejays, 80-66, to jumpstart its postseason chances.

Cooley added that he believes the Big East has "several" teams that should make the NCAA Tournament this season.

UConn, Creighton, and Marquette are locks to be in the field on Selection Sunday while Seton Hall has the resume of a team that should be in, but its metric do not matchup with a lot of other teams. St. John's, Villanova, and Providence all feel like they need to win a quarterfinal game in the Big East Tournament in order to feel safe about its chances.

"I don't know if there is a league in the country, top to bottom, that has been as competitive as this league has been," Cooley continued, although the Big East has winless team in conference play with DePaul and the Hoyas, who's only two wins in the league came against the Blue Demons.

The Red Storm, the No. 5 seed in the Big East Tournament, will play No. 4 seed Seton Hall for a third time this season in the quarterfinals after the Pirates swept the regular season series.

"It's going to be fun watching [St. John's] as we head into this next week of the Big East Tournament."