Shamorie Ponds Chris Mullin
(AP Photo/Frank Franklin II)

After sweating it out on the bubble, the St. John’s Red Storm are heading to the NCAA Tournament as the final team into the field of 68.

Ricky Keeler

It had to feel like a long wait on the bubble for the St. John’s Red Storm. Despite losing four of their final five games to end the season, the Johnnies are heading to the NCAA Tournament as one of the last teams in the field.

They are one of the 11 seeds in the West Region and they will face the Arizona State Sun Devils in Dayton, Ohio as part of the First Four on Wednesday. That game will be on at 9:10 p.m ET and you can watch it on TruTV. The Sun Devils finished 22-10 on the season and 12-6 in the Pac-12.

If the Red Storm win that game, they will face the six seeded Buffalo Bulls on Friday in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Buffalo was the regular season champions out of the Mid-American Conference (MAC). The committee chair, Bernard Muir, said on CBS during the Selection Show that St. John’s was the last team into the field.

This year is the first time since the 2014-15 season that St. John’s is selected to the NCAA Tournament and it will be the first time that Chris Mullin will be there as the head coach. It will be a fun coaching matchup as Mullin will get to go up against Bobby Hurley.


Of course, these two are slightly familiar with each other. Last year, St. John’s and Arizona State faced each other in the regular season at STAPLES Center with the Sun Devils winning the game, 82-70. The game was a lot closer than the final score indicated. Plus, this is Arizona State’s second consecutive year in the First Four (lost to Syracuse last year).

The Red Storm are one of four Big East teams that will be in the 2019 NCAA Tournament. Villanova will be the six seed in the South Region and they will play the 11-seed, St. Mary’s on Thursday. Marquette will also be in Hartford on Thursday.

The Golden Eagles, who are the five seed in the West, will take on the 12-seed, Murray State. Seton Hall is the other team. The 10 seed in the Midwest will face the seven seed Wofford in Jacksonville on Thursday.

It wasn’t pretty at the end of the season, but St. John’s still accomplished their goal of making the NCAA Tournament. They have the talent to make a run if Shamorie Ponds and company can find that consistency that has eluded them all season long.

For one night, it is an opportunity to celebrate an accomplishment despite a rough end to the season.

I graduated from St. John's University with a degree in sports management. I previously wrote about the Johnnies at Rumble In the Garden.