St. John’s had a tough time stopping Georgetown on Sunday afternoon Photo Credit: Georgetown Athletics
Big East Press a monthly column about local Big East teams and the players from the NYC tri-state area who play in it.
The midpoint of conference play is a time where the men have separated themselves from the boys and the high hopes from the early part of the season have dwindled for some while others have improved. Both the St. John’s Red Storm and the Seton Hall Pirates have put themselves in a bad position after both teams suffered terrible losses to Georgetown and Villanova respectively on Sunday. What makes these losses worse is that prior to Sunday both teams had a week off to prepare for these games.
Most Bracketologists have both teams dancing in March, but at the same time they are trending downward. In Joe Lunardi’s latest Bracketology, Seton Hall is the 12th seed in the West region while St. John’s is an 11th seed in the Midwest region. Both teams are in the top 68 in net rankings. St. John’s is ranked at Number 49 while Seton Hall is ranked at No. 64. The net rankings are one of many metrics that are used by the tournament selection committee.
At this point of the season, both teams are 3-5 in conference play, and both enter a pivotal stretch of games where winning is needed to improve their chances of making the field of 68, but many pundits who follow the Big East believe Seton Hall slightly has a better chance of dancing at this point than St. John’s mainly because their non-conference wins vs Kentucky and Maryland stand out more.
For St. John’s they face a very crucial three game road trip starting with Creighton tonight in Omaha, followed by No.2 Duke on Saturday and Marquette on Tuesday.
If you are looking for St. John’s to be a tournament lock winning next 2 out of the three games would be huge for the Red Storm, but for that to happen this team needs to return to their ways during the early part of the season. When we covered the Red Storm in November at the Legends Classic, we have seen a very united and focused team. The past few games have been the opposite. The same bad habits they had gotten away with during non-conference play have come back to haunt them.
With February around the corner and March slowly approaching, these next seven weeks will show who deserves to punch their ticket to the big dance.
AROUND THE LEAGUE
St. John’s guard and Brooklyn Native is top 5 in most statistical categories (points, assists, and steals) and looks like the heavy favorite for Big East and National player of the year.
Harlem Native Alpha Diallo and the rest of the Providence Friars will be in Newark tonight as they will be playing Seton Hall at the Prudential Center. Diallo leads the team in scoring with 17 points per game and leads the league in rebounding with 8.5 rebounds a game.
White Plains Native and Butler wing Jordan Tucker has already made himself at home with the Butler Bulldogs. Butler scored a career-high 24 points off the bench in the win vs. St. John’s on January 19th and is putting up averages of 10 points and five rebounds per game. Butler will be back in the NYC area on February 12th when they will face off against St. John’s at Madison Square Garden.