Do you have your dancing shoes on St. John’s basketball fans? Because come Monday, when the latest college basketball polls are posted, and until the beginning of March, when your programs name shows up on the CBS NCAA Tournament Selection Show, you’ll be dancing, a lot.
It has been 11 seasons (Nov. of 2000 to be precise) since the St. John’s faithful witnessed their team ranked in the Top 25. That streak will come to an end because on Saturday, the Red Storm (17-9, 9-5 Big East) upset the fourth-ranked Pittsburgh Panthers, 60-59, in a Big East Conference game at Madison Square Garden. The victory, which was St. John’s sixth during a seven-game span, also probably punched the Johnnies ticket to the NCAA Tournament, a postseason event the program hasn’t been a part of since 2002.
Again, senior guard Dwight Hardy came to the rescue. Hardy, who scored a team-best 19 points, netted the game-winning basket with 1.2 second to play. St. John’s trailed 56-53 with less than a minute remaining, but Hardy and the Red Storm pulled out another dramatic victory.
On Wednesday, I wrote that St. John’s was a Top 5 Big East team. For those of you who didn’t believe me then, do you believe me now?
In less than 30 days, St. John's (despite its ranking) has beaten No. 5 Duke Blue Devils, the Connecticut Huskies (No. 13 in the AP poll and No. 12 in the USA Today/ESPN Coaches poll) and now the Big East’s first place team, Pittsburgh. St. John’s has done everything asked of it to earn a Top 25 ranking. Currently, the Red Storm are TIED FOR THIRD in the Big East standings. The Johnnies also have beat the second place Notre Dame Fighting Irish and now — did I mention this? — first-place Pitt.
Do you have your dancing shoes on St. John’s fans? If not, get them out of the closet because you have a lot of jiving to do. Enjoy it.