Storm Warning

February 14, 2011

With BracketBuster Weekend just days away, the phrase “giant killer” is again resurfacing in the vocabularies of college basketball fans across the country. What mid-major team has the tools to take down one of the big boys in the tournament? What potential twelve seed is capable of knocking off a five seed? Who will be the Davidson or George Mason in this year’s tournament?

While these are all good questions, there is one giant killer that would not be the answer to any of them. That is because this certain giant killer is hiding amongst its prey. What’s even more amazing is that they have been able to maintain a low profile while playing in the bright lights of a major city.

Meet the pride of New York City, the St. John’s Red Storm.

Taking a quick look at St. John’s schedule, one would probably not be overly impressed. A 15-9 overall record, with losses against St. Bonaventure, Fordham, and mid-major standout St. Mary’s isn’t the most effective way to convince the selection committee. However, take a closer look, and you’ll see W’s next to the following teams: Duke, Notre Dame, Georgetown, and Connecticut. Those teams have a combined sixteen losses this season, and the Red Storm account for a fourth of them.

What’s even more impressive than the wins themselves is how St. John’s has gone about winning them. The Red Storm won the aforementioned games by an average of 13.25 points, and that average would have been a lot higher if the win over Georgetown had been by a wider margin (St. John’s beat the Hoyas 61-58).

The biggest drawback of the Red Storm, and really the only reason why more people haven’t jumped aboard the bandwagon, is their lack of consistency. After the big wins over Georgetown and Notre Dame, they were beaten by 15+ points the next game (against Notre Dame and Louisville, respectively). Emotions run high in the Big Apple, but if the Red Storm want to be taken seriously, they are going to have to prove they can come back and play hard after a big win. This past weekend they took a step in the right direction, when they beat Cincinnati on the road following their huge upset of Connecticut last Thursday.

St. John’s is a school with rich basketball tradition, yet they haven’t been to the NCAA tournament since 2000. This year’s team is led by a trio of seniors and head coach Steve Lavin, who worked as an analyst at ESPN for the past seven years before being hired by St. John’s in March. Those seniors have a sense of urgency, and Lavin knows how to win in the NCAA tournament (he led UCLA to five Sweet 16’s from 1997-2002). The Red Storm are hungry, and it is showing in their play against really good teams.

If St John’s were to make the tournament this year, they may be thrust into an unfamiliar role. Usually the Big East conference is the victim of giant killers. But this March, the biggest conference, with the baddest teams, may produce one.

Steve Lavin and the rest of the Red Storm are just fine with that.

– K. Becks

2 Responses to Storm Warning

  1. Amanwhoknowsnothing on February 14, 2011 at 5:49 pm


  2. […] and have proven they can take down some of the best teams in the nation, and Around The Corn even hopped on the bandwagon back in February. However, St. John’s lost one of their better players in […]

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *