The 2019 Big East Tournament commences this Wednesday evening. After what looked to be a promising season, the St. John’s Red Storm have dropped their last three contests. As a result, they fell to the 7 seed and will play on the tournaments opening night for the fourth straight season. The 10th seeded DePaul Blue Demons await the Johnnies.
Just three weeks ago, the Red Storm beat Villanova at Madison Square Garden, pushing their record to 19-7. With a KenPom ranking of 53 and a manageable slate ahead, it appeared the Johnnies were destined for a breakout season. However, since that victory over Villanova, the Red Storm have dropped four out of their last five to teams that likely will not make the NCAA Tournament.
After their latest loss to Xavier, the Johnnies have slipped to 75th in KenPom’s rankings. Furthermore, they have played themselves square onto the bubble. As of Friday, March 8th, ESPN’s Joe Lunardi had St. John’s as a 10 seed.
To secure a spot in the NCAA Tournament, the Red Storm need a strong performance in the Big East Tournament. If they beat DePaul, then St. John’s would run into a slumping Marquette team in the quarterfinals. Interestingly enough, the Johnnies are winless against last-place DePaul this year, but 2-0 against the 2nd seeded Golden Eagles.
An early exit from the Big East Tournament could spell doom for the Johnnies. Four years into the Chris Mullin era, the time to make a deep run in March is now. Failure to secure a NCAA Tournament bid with this talented roster could jeopardize Mullin’s job.
Once again, the time to start winning is right now. The Big East has been a mixed bag this season. Everybody has the capability to beat anybody. Luckily for St. John’s, the tournament will take place on their home floor. Will the Red Storm step up to the occasion, or continue to flounder down the stretch? Starting Wednesday night, we will have more answers.
Big East Tournament Bracket
Schedule (Courtesy of Big East Coast Bias)
Wednesday, March 13
#7 St. John’s Red Storm vs. #10 DePaul Blue Demons (Approx. 9:30 p.m., FS1)
Thursday, March 14
#1 Villanova Wildcats vs. TBD (#8 vs. #9 winner) (Noon, FS1)
#2 Marquette Golden Eagles vs. TBD (#7 vs. #10 winner) (7 p.m., FS1)
Friday, March 15
TBD vs. TBD (6:30 p.m. FS1)
TBD vs. TBD (9 p.m. FS1)
Saturday, March 16
TBD vs. TBD (6:30 p.m., FOX)