We’re starting to run out of ways to convey just how much St. John’s has exceeded expectations this season, but how about this? Back at the end of December, just before the Johnnies opened their Big East schedule at West Virginia, Joe Lunardi of ESPN gave them a 50 percent chance of making the NCAA Tournament. (And this blog, seeing those odds as a glass half full, admitted we’d take them.) That was two months ago. Now? St. John’s is ranked 15th in both polls — assured of a tourney bid and presently more concerned about their seed in next week’s Big East Tournament. So in the wake of a road victory at Villanova — albeit one against the slumping Wildcats — did the Red Storm rise in the bracket predictions as quickly as they rose in the polls? They sure did.
Joe Lunardi, ESPN’s Bracketology: No. 4 seed, in Washington, D.C., vs. Belmont, in the West region. Are you thinking what we’re thinking? Road trip! Should St. John’s win, they’d play the winner of No. 5 Kentucky and No. 12 Belmont.
Jerry Palm, CBSSportsline.com: No. 5 seed, in Tucson, vs. Missouri State, in the East region. Palm’s the only one of this bunch to have St. John’s as low as No. 5, though he’d had them way down at No. 7 last week. Stop hatin’, Jerry Palm! (The Johnnies would face the winner of No. 4 Vanderbilt and No. 13 College of Charleston in the round of 32, should they advance.)
Andy Glockner, Sports Illustrated: No. 4, in Tucson, vs. Belmont, in the Southwest region. The winner of Xavier and last year’s tournament darlings, Butler, awaits in the second round.
Blogging the Bracket: No. 4, in Denver, vs. Milwaukee, in the East region. Confident Johnnies should take note that if they’re seeded in the East, they’d play in the Sweet 16 in Newark. (In this particular blogger’s scenario, if they advance, they’d play the winner of Vanderbilt’s first-round game, in which Vandy will face the winner of a play-in game between Baylor and Michigan. Got all that?)
Rush the Court: No. 4, in Tampa, vs. Princeton, in the West region. In round 2: the winner of Kentucky-UAB.
Yahoo’s Roto Arcade: No. 4 seed.
Bracketology 101: No. 4 seed, in Washington, D.C., vs. Princeton, in the West region. If they win? They’ll face the winner of Kentucky’s first-round game, in which Kentucky will face the winner of a play-in game between Michigan and Colorado. Such is life with a 68-team bracket.