A lot can change between now and Selection Sunday — we now know that St. John’s will play Rutgers tomorrow afternoon for the right to meet Syracuse in the Big East Tournament quarterfinals — but for the time being, the bracketologists we’ve been monitoring seem to have reached a consensus: Heading into the Big East Tournament, at least, the Johnnies deserve a No. 4 seed. (Most of them had the Red Storm as a No. 4 seed last week, as well, so the road loss to Seton Hall doesn’t seem to have hurt them very much.) So which No. 13 seed might Steve Lavin’s team be playing in the first round, according to some of the best educated guessers out there?
CBSSportsline’s Jerry Palm has them facing Wisconsin-Milwaukee in the first round, Andy Glockner of Sports Illustrated has them playing Belmont, Blogging the Bracket has them squaring off against Indiana State, and Bracketology 101 has them drawing Oakland. All reasoned predictions, we’re sure. But none of them caused our eyes to cartoonishly bulge out of their sockets the way that Joe Lunardi’s prediction over at ESPN did. That’s because Lunardi, perhaps the biggest name in this whole bracketology business, has St. John’s paired up with … Long Island University.
It’s here that we’ll remind you that no New York City team has reached the NCAA Tournament since 2004. And so while it would be surreal to see two of them play each other in the first round, we hope the selection committee won’t make us choose sides quite so early in the tournament. (As you may have noticed, this blog’s a bit obsessed with the Northeast Conference, but we’d hate for an LIU upset to mean a promising St. John’s season ends in the first round.) Not to get too ahead of things: Lunardi’s is just one projection. And, of course, LIU still needs one more win to secure the NEC’s automatic bid.