The Dog days of college Basketball are something else. You hit a stretch of bad losses, you are in a slump and fans want the head coaches bags packed the next morning. Tough times happen but like they say life is 90 % of what happens to you and 10 % of how you respond and for the St. John’s Red Storm that 10% means a lot.
The St. John’s Red Storm find themselves in a good position to finish 5th or 6th in the conference after two big wins against Xavier and Butler. The Red Storm’s NET ranking going into the Xavier game was at 90, but after beating the musketeers and Butler they are now at 68. They are slowly creeping back into the tournament discussion with a crucial stretch of games left in the schedule and they have been playing much better basketball as of late.
It’s a great thing to see at this point of the season because the goal of them becoming an NCAA team is still at reach. Most “experts” believe that the Red Storm’s way into the NCAA tournament is to win the Big East tournament Championship which may be true but continuing their winning streak with the hopes that others lose could put them in the situation where they don’t have to play opening night on Wednesday, March 9th.
At this point, it seems like a long shot but here are many reasons for optimism if you are a Red Storm fan.
Julian Champangie’s newest Nickname is roadkill.
After his best performance of the season (31 points, 7 steals, 7 boards) The Big East player of the week is out of his scoring slump and it has come in perfect timing. The Loughlin alum has shown thus far that he’s best on the road. In the past three road games, Champangie averages 25.0 Ppg 2.0 steals, and 90.5 % from the free-throw line. With key road games against Depaul and Marquette down the line, Champangie ‘s ability to dominate on the road, you gotta like their chances of finishing the regular season strong going into the Big East tournament.
Posh is back and no more missed layups
Posh Alexander’s return in the win against Butler paid huge dividends as he scored 13 points and 10 assists in the win. The offense has looked a lot better for the Red Storm, they are finishing at the rim more often and that’s a huge plus because in many of their losses this season, they have missed tons of layups that have kept them from winning some winnable games against Quad 1 opponents.
The resurgence of Aaron Wheeler.
In the two wins, Aaron Wheeler didn’t have big scoring games but what we did see in the losses too. Villanova and UConn are that he’s able to take over the game with his scoring ability and that could be a big boost as we reach the final stretch of the regular season.
At this point we all know what’s at stake for the Red Storm for the season to be a success and right now the Johnnies are trending upward and we hope it stays that way.
Key games to Watch
With the regular season winding down every game matters but here are a few games this week that stand out from the rest.
No.8 Villanova at No.21 UConn 8:00 pm
Wednesday, February 23rd
Creighton at St. John’s 6:30 pm
Saturday, February 26th
Seton Hall vs Xavier 3:30
Creighton at No. 11 Providence
Tuesday, March 1st
No.11 Providence at No.8 Villanova 7 pm
Wednesday, March 2nd
Xavier at St. John’s 6:30 pm
No.21 UConn at Creighton. 8:30 pm