The anticipation and hype you get while waiting on line for a roller coaster was very comparable to the summer going into St. John's season this year.
The Red Storm had a ton of things to be excited about - a postseason berth and victory in the NIT, adding a top 25 recruit in Rysheed Jordan along with the additions of Orlando Sanchez, God'sGift Achiuwa and Max Hooper, maturity from a talented group of freshmen and sophomores, and being a part of the new Big East on the national Fox Sports 1.
And just like when you ride the roller coaster the season went up and down throughout the whole stretch.
St. John's finds themselves 20-11 with a 10-8 record in the Big East. According to major bracketologists they are in the "Next Four Out" - not even on the direct bubble, they need help to reach the NCAA Tournament.
The Red Storm finished as the five seed in the conference. They will return home to Madison Square Garden needing to play at least into Friday and even that might not be enough. Steve Lavin's group will be playing Providence on Thursday at 2:30 PM, with a chance to play Villanova (assuming the Wildcats beat Butler/ Seton Hall) the next day with a win.
Still, the Red Storm recovered from a poor 0-5 start in Big East play to finish 10-8 in the Big East.
"It speaks to the kids' resiliency and resolve," Lavin said, "for them to go from 0-5 to 10-8. In my experience, it's unprecedented. I'm proud of this group, of their growth. We're making progress, we're getting better with every practice and every game experience. They've got a resiliency that won't be defeated."
A look back at the high and low points, at how they got to this position.
11/30 69-58 win against Georgia Tech in the Barclays Center Classic: The Red Storm over came a 15-point deficit and blew past Georgia Tech in the second half to come out on top. After a tough loss in overtime to Penn State the day before, St. John's won it with great defense going on a 24-4 run.
12/15 68-63 loss against Syracuse: You might be a little confused why a loss is here, but stay with me. This was the game that Jordan finally showed what made him into a top 25 recruit and why Lavin said he might be his best player he's coached. Throughout the second half of this game Jordan was driving strong to the rack and finishing with contact, along with stifling star freshman point guard Tyler Ennis in their one-on-one matchup. Syracuse just pulled away in the last couple of minutes.
2/9 70-65 win against #12 Creighton: St. John's was in the middle of their February run but was still missing that "resume" win to make the NCAA Tournament. They played a great game for the entire 40 minutes. MVP of the game was Jakarr Sampson for his defense on Wooden Award favorite Doug McDermott. He held him without a field goal for the final eight minutes.
1/4 77-60 loss at Georgetown: Do we even have to elaborate on this game? It started out ugly and stayed that way the whole time. The Red Storm had no answer on both sides of the court. Lavin was still fumbling with his roations - he started Felix Balamou, God`sgift Achiuwa, and walk-on Khadim Ndiaye. The Hoyas shot 62% in the first half and never looked back; though this is the game that Lavin credits as the beginning of the turnaround for his team.
2/22 57-54 loss at Villanova: St. John's had a golden opportunity to continue their great play in February and another "resume win" to their Creighton win. it was a very sloppy game in which neither team really did deserve a win. However, Villanova handed St. John's a victory late in the second half yet they couldn't execute and finish the job off.
2/25 65-53 loss against Xavier: Another nice opportunity for St. John's to beat a team in front of them in terms of tournament resumes and conference standings. As it was such a big game for St. John's, one would expect MSG to be hopping. It was the complete opposite, and for St. John's their defense was like the crowd, weak. They let Jalen Reynolds go off for 17 points and 16 rebounds off the bench.
Now that the roller coaster is coming back to the gate, what are your thoughts on the regular season for St. John's? What are your high and low points?