St. John's basketball clinging to NCAA Tournament hopes after bid stealers shine

The Johnnies will not have an easy Selection Sunday
Mar 14, 2024; New York City, NY, USA; St. John's Red Storm head coach Rick Pitino coaches against
Mar 14, 2024; New York City, NY, USA; St. John's Red Storm head coach Rick Pitino coaches against / Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

The St. John's basketball team left Madison Square Garden on Friday night disappointed it could not defeat top-seeded UConn in the semifinals of the Big East Tournament, but was looking forward to what would lie ahead in the NCAA Tournament.

Just over 24 hours later, it is just hoping to get in the field.

Saturday was a day bubble teams, like the Johnnies, dreaded. Everything that could have gone wrong, went wrong.

North Carolina State (ACC) and Oregon (PAC-12) each won its conference tournaments and earned a bid to the dance. Neither would have been in if it lost on Saturday night.

Florida Atlantic (AAC), who has not had the strong year many envisioned after returning most of its players from last year's Final Four run, lost to woeful Temple in the semifinals of its conference tournament and the league is likely to get two teams with the Owls and the league champs.

That's three bids all going up in smoke within a four hour window.

St. John's can still hang its hat on its Hall of Fame coach and impressive metrics. The Red Storm are No. 32 in the NET rankings and No. 26 in KenPom, both worthy of tournament teams. The Johnnies also only have one combined Quad 3 & 4 loss, compared to other bubble teams like Florida Atlantic, Texas A&M, and Mississippi State.

The Owls, who have two fewer Quad 1 wins than St. John's, have three Quad 3 & 4 losses, two coming in Quadrant 4.

The Aggies have four Quad 3 losses and the Bulldogs, who have the same amount of Quad 1 wins as the Red Storm, have a Quad 4 loss.

It feels like that should swing things in favor of St. John's, but no one can say for certain.

The bid stealing started on Thursday when Dayton, the prohibitive favorite in the Atlantic-10, was upset in the quarterfinals of its conference tournament, opening up the door for the league to have multiple bids.

St. John's was the last team in the field in 2019, the last time the program made the NCAA Tournament, and it could be looking at a similar situation on Sunday when the brackets get revealed at 6:00 p.m. ET on CBS.