St. John’s may have been in the NCAA Tournament field before Tuesday night’s 80-68 win over Marquette, but with back-to-back road wins against fellow bubble teams, the Johnnies have all-but solidified themselves a spot in the NCAA Tournament come Selection Sunday.
The knock on this team was that, while they were unbeatable at home, they couldn’t win on the road. After beating Cincinnati on Sunday — thanks, in large part, to a fortuitous lane violation committed by the Bearcat’s Rashad Bishop — Steve Lavin’s squad went into Milwaukee and handed the Golden Eagles their first double digit loss of the season and just their second since March 9th, 2009.
Throw in victories at West Virginia and Providence back around the turn of the calender, and the Johnnies have earned exactly half of their eight Big East wins in road games.
Still think this team cannot win on the road?
Now, when you consider that they also have wins against Georgetown, Notre Dame (by 18), Duke (by 15), and UConn (by 17), the question no longer will be will St. John’s get in, but rather how high they will be seeded? On Monday, most brackets had the Johnnies as a six or seven seed.
That was before their win at Marquette.
Pitt visits the Garden on Saturday. What happens if the Johnnies defend their home court again?
For Marquette, the picture is bleaker.
For the second straight game, the Golden Eagles have lost by their biggest margin of the season. To be fair, Marquette does not exactly have a bad loss this season — unless you consider Gonzaga to be a bad loss (which it very well may be at this point) — but moral victories don’t get counted into the RPI. At some point, you have to start winning games, and Marquette has not done enough of that.
Prior to this loss, Marquette was right on the cut line. While they do have five games left on their Big East schedule, only one — at UConn — comes against a tournament team, meaning Marquette has an excellent chance to get to 10 Big East wins.
Will that be enough?
If I were Marquette, I wouldn’t want to rely on it.