Yesterday, we openly wondered about — you might even say “mocked” — St. John’s seemingly flimsy hopes for the NCAA Tournament. Even though ESPN’s Joe Lunardi had them at 50 percent odds just two weeks ago, it was difficult to imagine a team that lost to St. Bonaventure and Fordham — St. Bonaventure and Fordham! — could ever make the tournament or even compete in the Big East. Now, though, you’re talking about a first-place St. John’s team, after a convincing 81–71 win at West Virginia last night. Sure it’s 1–0, but first place is first place.
How did St. John’s deliver the first upset of the Big East season so far? By shooting the lights out. The Johnnies were a ridiculous 25-for-41 from the field, 61 percent, and if they shoot like that every game the rest of the year, they’ll beat just about everybody, including Duke and maybe even the Lakers. Dwight Hardy scored twenty points, and D.J. Kennedy had a double-double, and St. John’s looked dominant all around. They looked like they couldn’t lose to Fordham if they were wearing headbands over their eyes.
It was St. John’s’ first win at West Virginia in more than a decade, helping muchly by wild 77 percent shooting in the second half. We didn’t know being a senior made you shoot that much better, but apparently it does.
The Red Storm play at Providence on New Year’s Day, and if they can start the Big East with two road wins, well, heck, we’ll institute a weekly St. John’s NCAA Alert Level on this site. Get excited.