March Madness: SJU, SHU, ‘Cuse headline locals at the dance

March Madness. (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)
March Madness. (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images) /
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March Madness
Chris Mullin, St. John’s Red Storm. March Madness. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images) /

St. Johns Red Storm (21-12) – 11th seed, West Regional?

How they got here: Still trying to figure that one out, but they had some impressive wins on their resume.

First Four round opponent: Arizona State 3/20

All the mid-majors mentioned above got hot down the stretch. Unfortunately for Chis Mullin’s Red Storm, it was the opposite. The Johnnies went 12-0 to open the season in non-conference play. A pair of wins over Marquette and one over Villanova kept them relevant through mid-February, but the building was already crumbling.

A 6-9 finish to the regular season, put them in the Big East Tournament play-in game, which they won. Marquette exposed the Red Storm’s weak inside game during their conference quarterfinal matchup which took the Red Storm’s NCAA Tournament fate out of their own hands. Consequently, SJU was the last team to make the field and will face Arizona State in a First Four matchup.

When it’s working for St. John’s, 6-1 junior guard Shamorie Ponds is killing his opponents in both the transition game and from beyond the arc. In St. John’s 21 wins, Ponds shot 50.5 percent from the floor and 40.7 percent from three-point land with almost three steals per game. During 11 losses he played in, the Brooklyn natives shooting percentages went down to 36.8, and 26.6 respectively. Additionally, he had as many turnovers as steals (29). 6-7 Marvin Clark II and 6-6 LJ Figuroa give the undersized Red Storm their only presence in the paint.

They’ll be hard-pressed to beat Arizona State, let alone Buffalo should the Johnnies win their opener.