-- SB Nation's Rumble In The Garden reacts to St. John's latest accomplishment
I understand that the St. John's basketball program can do some damage in the Big East Tournament, and even in the NCAA Tournament, where some experts have them, right now, possibly making it into the second week. However, let's be honest for a moment. Regardless of what happens from Monday, when the latest college basketball polls had the Red Storm ranked 23rd in the AP poll and ranked 25th in the USA Today/ESPN Coaches poll for the first time since Nov. of 2000, until the season ends, probably sometime in early March, this is as good as it's going to get for Johnnies fans.
This isn't a slam on the program, it's just the honest truth. Just think, Saturday the Red Storm knocked off another top 5 team, the Pittsburgh Panthers, 60-59 on a last-second, reverse layup from team MVP, senior guard Dwight Hardy. The victory was the squad's sixth in a seven-game span, which also featured wins over No. 1 Duke Blue Devils and the No. 14/15 Connecticut Huskies at Madison Square Garden. However, once Hardy's aerobatic shot fell and the game-ending buzzer sounded with a one-point St. John's advantage, all Red Storm supporters wanted to do was click refresh on ESPN's college basketball rankings page to see St. John's listed. Heck, you've waited 10-plus years for that, everything else is just icing on the cake.
"I think it's a benchmark of achievement for the senior class and naturally it will be helpful in recruiting with the national exposure," first-year head coach Steve Lavin said about his team's latest achievement of making the Top 25. "It is empirical evidence that their hard work is paying off. You try not to have emotional peaks and valleys and you are always concerned and mindful of complacency. But with this group, they have an outstanding work ethic, focus and resolve to finish their careers on a high note."
Now, some will say that the only ranking that matters is the one that comes during CBS' "NCAA Tournament Selection Show". I am not going to argue against that, but I will say, relish this moment, live it up because the NCAA Tournament can be like the prom. It's great to be there, but more than 76.4 percent of the teams end up leaving the dance the first week and are unhappy about the results. After Saturday, and now Monday, you know the results. Enjoy this cake and please don't wipe off the icing.