Following an 11th-place finish in the Big East, St. John's has been placed into a setting it has experienced more success at than any other team in college basketball. The Red Storm will begin another National Invitational Tournament journey Tuesday when it travels to Saint Joseph's for a first-round game. St. John's is the NIT's record holder for appearances (28), victories (40), semifinal appearances (15) and championships (five) - each total reduced after the school was forced to vacate its victories during its 2003 title run.
St. John's will be hard-pressed to improve on each of its historic numbers in the NIT without leading scorer D'A ngelo Harrison, who was suspended for the rest of the season March 1. The Red Storm has dropped five straight - four since his suspension - and will face a Hawks' team that went 1-1 against Big East opponents. St. Joseph's has lost two of its last three, but has won six in a row at home.
TV: 7 p.m. ET, ESPNU
ABOUT ST. JOHN'S (16-15): One of the youngest teams in the country, the Red Storm's offensive struggles have been magnified in Harrison's absence. Already one of the nation's worst 3-point and free throw shooting teams with the conference's third-leading scorer, St. John's is 56.3 percent from the foul line and 6-for-51 11.8 percent beyond the arc without him. In those same four games, the Red Storm are averaging 57.3 points - a 8.2-point drop from their first 27 contests. Still, the Red Storm possess Big East Rookie of the Year JaKarr Sampson (14.9 points) and the nation's second-leading shot blocker in Chris Obekpa (4.1 blocks).
ABOUT SAINT JOSEPH'S (18-13): The Hawks rely mostly on a six-man rotation, with Langston Galloway (13.7 points) arguably the most dynamic threat on the team. The junior guard ranks second on the team in scoring and has stepped up against athletic defenders - he averaged 23.5 points in two games against Virginia Commonwealth - like the players he will face against the Red Storm. With 231 career 3-pointers, Galloway ranks third all-time in school history. Saint Joseph's is 11th in the country in blocks per game (5.7), thanks in large part to C.J. Aiken (league-leading 2.7). The Hawks commit the third-fewest fouls in the country and allowed the second-lowest 3-point percentage in the A-10.
1. Saint Joseph's is seeking its first postseason victory - NCAA or NIT - since defeating Rutgers in this event in 2006.
2. St. John's eight Big East wins were its most since 2001-02.
3. Carl Jones, the only senior starter for either team, is one of three players in Hawks' history to score at least 1,800 points.
PREDICTION: Saint Joseph's 68, St. John's 59