After beating Villanova today, the St. John’s Red Storm has victories over Georgetown, Notre Dame, Duke, UCONN, Pitt, and Villanova. They’ve risen from being an unranked team to being the #25 team in the country, and should continue to climb once the new rankings come out.
Shouldn’t they be higher? Like, much higher? I guess voters are reluctant to place a team with nine losses too high. To be fair, no team ranked ahead of them had lost as many games as of the time last week’s rankings came out.
Ok, fine. Don’t voters, though, look closely at the quality of the opponents? If so, didn’t they look at the Red Storm’s schedule and see that five of St. John’s losses came to teams consistently ranked within the top 25 this year — some even in the top ten: Notre Dame, Syracuse, Georgetown, Louisville, and St. Mary’s. Of those five teams, St. John’s avenged its loss against two of them: Notre Dame and Georgetown, splitting its season series with each of those teams.
It’s hard to imagine that a team from New York could be underrated, and it’s particularly hard to imagine that happening if it’s a Big East team from New York that has beaten Duke. Yet, that seems to be what’s happening.
Perhaps the Red Storm will shoot up the rankings this week, or earn a high seed in the NCAA tournament in spite of a relatively low ranking in the polls, and this will all be moot. For now, all that’s clear is that St. John’s is a force, and teams with championship aspirations should hope that they’re able to stay out of the path of this Storm for a long time.
Funny how Tweener links to an old, on-point article about picking NCAA tourney upsets when he mentions Fredette (who reminds me of Deron Williams at Illinois) but fails to recognize his previous postings praising Izzo when reporting on Michigan State’s swoon. Izzo’s/MSU’s struggles this year recall last year’s disappointing UNC team and prove, once again, that even the best programs and coaches have a down year every now and then. The Tar Heels, by the way, are quietly playing their best basketball of the year heading into Cameron on Wednesday. Duke should win on Wednesday but expect the game to be a classic Duke-Carolina game unlike the last game between the rivals in Cameron.
Regarding making sense of the Big East, that conference is a reflection of all of college basketball this season. Apart from the top 5 teams (as currently accurately ranked), the next 30 or so are just about interchangeable.
My top-four conference rankings at this point: 1. Big East (by wide margin), 2. Big 12, 3. ACC (underrated) and 4. Big 10 (slipping each day). Not too much farther down the list would be the Ivy League, which is boasting its strongest teams at the top in a long, long time.
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TigerHeel! Always good to have you. A few responses:
1. I wasn’t linking to an old article to pat myself on the back. I’m well aware that there’s stuff in old articles that makes me look bad (I picked the Cavs to make the playoffs this year!). Good dig, though.
2. Aside from Pitt, the teams “at the top of” the Big East have changed a few times this year.
3. What I’m looking to see is whether the Big East teams get a boost from playing all the tough competition this year, or whether it winds up meaning nothing.
4. ACC underrated? Who’s dangerous other than Carolina and Duke?
FSU was looking like a good sleeper tourney team because they are so good defensively. But yesterday the Seminoles lost their best player (Chris Singleton) for the year because of a broken foot. BC, Clemson and Maryland are all solid and would be in the middle of most conferences other than the Big East, which is just stacked.