NCAA tournament team previews: St. John's Red Storm
As part of its preview of the 2015 NCAA men’s basketball tournament, SI.com is taking a look at all 68 teams in the field. RPI and SOS data from realtimerpi.com. Adjusted offense and defense are from kenpom.com and measure the number of points scored and allowed per 100 possessions, and the team’s national rank. All stats are through Monday, March 16.
Record: 21-11 (10-8 in Big East)
Adjusted offensive/defensive efficiency: 108.1 (62nd)/95.7 (51st)
Seed: No. 9 in South
Impact player: D'Angelo Harrison, senior, guard: 17.5 ppg, 5.4 rpg, 109.3 offensive rating.
The Case For: St. John's has four players capable of taking over a game on any given night. Harrison, Rysheed Jordan, Sir'Dominic Pointer and Phil Greene IV all score at least 13 points per game, and they combine to pour in nearly 60 per game. Jordan, a sophomore, is the only non-senior, and all four of those players are in the backcourt. This is an experienced, guard-driven team, qualities which will make the Red Storm especially dangerous. Pointer is perhaps the most complete player on the roster, leading the team in rebounding, steals and blocks while ranking a close second in assists. If St. John's is going to make a run, it will be because of that quartet.
The Case Against: The Red Storm has been an incredibly streaky team, and they're heading into the tournament having lost its last two games by a combined 54 points. They started the season 11-1, including wins over Minnesota and Syracuse, before losing seven of 10 at the start of Big East play. Just when it looked like the Johnnies were playing themselves out of the NCAA tournament picture, they won seven of eight, but those recent blowout losses (105-68 at Villanova on March 7 and 74-57 by Providence in last week's Big East tournament) are ample reason to wonder if they are headed for an early exit.
St. John's isn't deep, either. Its bench accounts for only 21.3% of the team's minutes (346th in the nation), which could leave this team vulnerable, especially if it gets into foul trouble.
SI prediction: Lose in Round of 64 to San Diego State