Before 6 p.m. yesterday, no New York City area team had their name called for the NCAA Tournament since 2004, when Manhattan was seeded twelfth in the East Rutherford Region. They ended up upsetting Florida in the first round before losing to Wake Forest in the second round, led by freshman point guard Chris Paul. That drought ended yesterday, with St. John's and Long Island both getting in. It is a measure of how far we've come that rather than just revel in the accomplishments, both teams had plenty to complain about in their seedings.
St. John's received a No. 6 seed, which isn't bad, considering they're missing D.J. Kennedy for the whole postseason, one of the best post presences and emotional leaders. But that first round game with Gonzaga, a program that has been to the tournament nine times since the Red Storm visited, is a tough one. This isn't among the best Gonzaga teams, but they're still experienced, smart, and talented. And they will be looking to pounce on a St. John's team still reeling from Kennedy's loss.
It's worth noting, though, that Steve Lavin's crew, if they can get past Gonzaga, could make a little run. They could face Jimmer Nation with a matchup with Brigham Young in the second round, a team that's missing its own post presence, out with overactive genitals. Florida is widely considered to be overseeded at No. 2, and the No. 1 in that region is Pittsburgh, and you might remember that St. John's played them earlier this year.
In that game.
So you never know. There are teams with much rougher paths than St. John's.
As for Long Island, they ended up facing North Carolina in the first round, surprisingly stuck with a No. 15 seed. Remember: Long Island won its last thirteen games, and 21 of its last 22. Even out of the Northeast Conference, a No. 15 seed seems a little low. And LIU's coach agrees.
"I'm disappointed in the seed to be quite honest," LIU coach Him Ferry said. "When you take our body of work -- 27 wins ... the longest win streak in the country, the most road wins in the country, I don't see how we're a 15 seed to be quite honest. I thought we should have been a 13 maybe and then no lower than a 14. I thought we should have gotten a little bit more respect than that. All the formulas that we've been told and all the formulas that I've listened to, I thought we would have been a lock at 14," Ferry said.
Well, regardless, there they are, playing North Carolina. At least everyone will be paying attention.
Oh, game times! St. John's is gonna keep you up late, with a 9:45 start on Thursday night in Denver. That game is on CBS. LIU's game is also on CBS, at 7:15 on Friday. Jim Nantz is broadcasting an LIU game, which is awesome.
By the way, we'll be promoting this all week, but do join our Second Annual Sports Section NCAA Tournament Pool. Winner receives a free post on the site and many salutations and commendations. Let's get 'er going.