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John Thompson III talks about St. John's-Georgetown, Chris Mack speaks on St. John's potential

Two Big East coaches have high praise for the red hot Johnnies.

Anthony Gruppuso-USA TODAY Sports

St. John's is yet again on a roll in February but this year, the late season success could earn the team a trip to the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 2011.

The Johnnies finish up their regular season with a difficult schedule but first it must face off against Georgetown at Madison Square Garden.

"It's going to be special," John Thompson III said. "We're very excited about this game."

Even though the Hoyas beat down the Red Storm in DC earlier this month, Georgetown head coach John Thompson III knows that Lavin's squad is a dangerous team, especially under the bright lights inside The Mecca of basketball.

"They are playing very well right now," Coach Thompson said. "They are very unselfish and they can really score the ball and it's not just D'Angelo Harrison."

St. John's has proved that defensive energy leads to success on the offensive side of the ball. When they create transition opportunities, the Johnnies are a poor match-up for most other teams.

"The way the big fellow (Chris Obekpa) is playing back there and Pointer, you have to play well to beat them," Coach Thompson said.

During this recent February stretch, the Johnnies have only defeated one team on the road and that was Xavier, who is also on the bubble for the Big Dance. The Johnnies were only the second team this season (Creighton was the other team) to go into the Cintas Center and knock off the Musketeers. Xavier has been widely inconsistent but when they play well defensively and knock down their three's, they have proved to be very dangerous.

Head coach Chris Mack thinks his team has some work to do before the postseason but he raved about St. John's and their possible success moving forward.

"Every tournament run is different. It really depends on the match-ups," Chris Mack said when asked about which Big East teams can go deep in the NCAA Tournament. "St. John's is a perfect example. If it becomes an open court game that opponent will have a difficult time keeping up."

Mack had a first hand experience of how dangerous the Red Storm can be when they have a favorable match-up. In both meetings this season, St. John's used their athleticism to overcome the strength of Matt Stainbrook and Jalen Reynolds in the paint. The Musketeers were not quick enough and crafty enough to work around the length of the Johnnies front court.

The Johnnies are certainly no lock to make March's grand event but these endorsements show that a team doesn't have to be highly ranked to make a cinderella type of run in the Dance. It all starts with Saturday's Senior Day against the Johnnies' rivals, Thompson III and Georgetown.