St. John’s basketball: A storm’s brewing

Dwight Hardy believes St. John’s can compete for the national championship.

St. John’s is relevant again, but this week will determine if the Johnnies are for real.

Best-case scenario, the Red Storm run through the Big East tournament and cut down the nets. Fans have surely thought about that moment since Steve Lavin was hired last spring. But have the players?

“I definitely have,” Big East Sixth Man of the Year Justin Burrell admitted yesterday. “I really try to live in the now but I definitely have. Of course, I have.

“To be able to do that, to cut down those nets, would be the most spectacular feeling besides winning the national championship.”

Belief is wonderful. Belief juxtaposed with practicality is a formula for success. The Red Storm recognize there are games that need to be contested, starting with this afternoon’s Tri-State bloodletting revival against Rutgers, which topped Seton Hall, 76-70, in overtime yesterday afternoon. The Red Storm beat the Scarlet Knights, 58-56, in the only regular season game between the rivals.

The winner of that game will get Syracuse Thursday afternoon. The Orange are the only Big East team against whom that these seniors have not experienced a win. Syracuse routed St. John’s, 76-59, Jan. 12 at the Garden.

“Any team that beat us this year, we want to play. I think I’ve got a win against pretty much every team but Syracuse. So, for myself, I’d like to see Syracuse one more time,” Burrell said.

A potential quarterfinal date against Syracuse means a matchup against the Orange’s 2-3 zone defense. The Red Storm struggled against the zone in the 84-70 road loss at Seton Hall last Thursday and the 72-56 senior night win over South Florida Saturday night at Carnesseca Arena.

“The value I really thought was the blessing, even though we’d have rather won the game, was from the Seton Hall experience. It forced us to dust off, bring some of the zone offense concepts out of the treasure chest,” Steve Lavin said. “We hadn’t seen zone in about a month. We really hadn’t seen a steady dose of zone since Syracuse. I think the value in that was in the last couple days. There was dramatic improvement from the first game—Seton Hall versus South Florida—and the practice in-between and the practice (yesterday). We’ve worked a good amount on our zone offense because we’ll see it in our first matchup. If we’re fortunate enough to win, we’ll see a heavy dose of it with Syracuse out there.”

Translation: Yes, it is entirely possible that this St. John’s team could find themselves celebrating the school’s fourth Big East championship Saturday night. It is also wholly reasonable to think that the Johnnies could be in Houston competing for the national championship on April 2-4 if it revisits the winning formula that saw them win six straight last month.

“There’s some level of satisfaction, but we know we’re (not) done. We can do way better,” emphasized Dwight Hardy, who has helped the Johnnies to their first 20-win season since 2003. “We can make a real push for the national title.”


News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
Local

Memorial held for Sean Collier, MIT police officer…

More than 1,600 people gathered at MIT on Friday for a memorial service for Sean Collier, the police officer shot to death a year ago in the aftermath of the…

National

Florida man charged with murdering son to play…

A Florida man annoyed that his 16-month-old crying son was preventing him from playing video games suffocated the toddler, police said on Friday.

International

Powerful 7.2 magnitude earthquake rattles Mexico

A powerful earthquake struck Mexico Friday, shaking buildings and sending people running into the street, although there were no reports of major damage.

News

OMG! Exercise can make skin (and butt) look…

A moderate exercise regime can turn back time and actually reverse the skin's aging process, according to new research. The study showed that a minimum…

Entertainment

Whoopi Goldberg makes her debut as marijuana columnist

"It helps my head stop hurting, and with glaucoma your eyes ache, and she takes the ache out. It's wonderful," she said.

The Word

Kate Middleton made fun of Prince William's bald…

Kate Middleton and Prince William are in Sydney, Australia, right now, and it sounds like that brash Aussie sense of humor might be rubbing off.

The Word

Is Tom Cruise dating Laura Prepon?

"Mission: Impossible" star Cruise is said to be dating Laura Prepon, star of "Orange is the New Black."

Television

'Scandal' recap: Season 3, Episode 18, 'The Price…

Sally is Jesus, Olivia caused global warming, and Mellie's still drunk. Let's recap the Scandal finale. A church full of Washington insiders is about to…

MLB

MLB video highlights: Red Sox score two in…

Lester shines in Red Sox win over White Sox

Sports

2014 Boston Marathon preview: Elite American, International runners…

2014 Boston Marathon: Elite American, International runners to watch

NBA

2014 NBA Finals odds: Ranking which playoff teams…

2014 NBA Finals odds: Ranking which playoff teams have the best shot at a championship. The Thunder, Clippers, Heat and Rockets lead the way.

NFL

2014 Patriots, full NFL schedule release date announced

2014 Patriots, full NFL schedule release date announced

Tech

VIDEO: 'Vein-scanning' may become the future of paying

Designed to make transactions quicker and easier, the technology works by scanning the unique vein patterns in each person's palm.

Tech

#FollowFriday: 10 of the smartest Twitter accounts

Spending lots of time on Twitter? You might as well learn something. Here are some of the smartest accounts to follow.

Style

Light-up nail art syncs with phone

This Japanese technology syncs light-up nail art with your phone.

Wellbeing

Why is dance cardio taking off in NYC?

Instructors at some of the city's hottest classes explain why.