A banged up St. John's team is now desperately looking for victories with 11 games remaining in the Big East regular season conference schedule. The Johnnies have been in almost every game this season, but they just can't seem to finish out games, especially as of late against opponents like DePaul, Duke and last night against Creighton.
What has been the problem?
According to Steve Lavin on this morning's Big East Conference call, each matchup's has seen the Johnnies bedeviled by different problems.
"There's no one particular area that we've struggled," he said. "It's different every game."
They have shown a weakness in rebounding, three point shooting defense, free throw shooting and they have failed to execute down the stretch. The one consistent issue for the Red Storm has been the lack of depth
That depth took another big hit Wednesday night in Omaha.
Rysheed Jordan strained his patella tendon and only played 7 total minutes. On the call, Steve Lavin said that he had no update on Jordan's status and that he was expected to be evaluated by the team doctors Thursday afternoon. Jordan, who is second on the team in scoring and has played some excellent basketball as of late, is questionable for the Johnnies upcoming game on Saturday.
All seems to be going wrong for St. John's. But head coach Steve Lavin remains positive. He knows it's important that his veteran squad keeps their heads high and build on the things the team has done well with plenty of time left in the season.
"It was a hard fought affair at Creighton," Lavin said. "We did some things well offensively. We had some balance and only had 8 turnovers. We rebounded as well as we have had in 2 weeks."
With the Big East rated as the 2nd best conference in the country in terms of RPI [per CBS Sports], Lavin credits the league's toughness and grind as a reason his team is 2-5 in Big East play.
"This league is so tough," Lavin said. "You probably scratch your head when you see Georgetown blow out Villanova and then struggle versus Xavier a few days later, but that's our league. You have to continue to study film and improve upon areas that are hurting your team."
Last year, the Johnnies turned 0-5 start into a push for an NCAA Tournament berth.
But this year, the league has improved. So things won't be getting any easier for the Red Storm with Providence coming up.
"This Providence team has a special opportunity to do something special in March," Lavin said. "Henton and Dunn are as good as any, if not the best, duo in this league."
It is still January, but the showdown against a high quality team in Providence at Madison Square Garden has to be considered a must-win. The Johnnies would need to win 9 or 10 games in the Big East to even have a shot at the Big Dance and the goal that this senior class has been facing for four seasons is starting to spiral out of control.
A season sweep of the Friars would go a long way for their resume come the middle of March. But another Big East loss would sink the Red Storm farther from postseason play.