St. John's Red Storm: 21-12, 8-10 in the Big East Conference
Head coach: Chris Mullin (4th season)
Players to watch: Shamorie Ponds (19.5 PPG, 5.2 APG, 2.6 SPG); Mustapha Heron (14.9 PPG, 42.1 3PT%); LJ Figueroa (14.3 PPG, 6.2 RPG)
Season recap: Despite ranking outside the top 70 according to both KenPom.com and NET rankings, St. John's will make its first NCAA tournament appearance since 2015.
The Red Storm began the season on a torrid streak and entered conference play with a perfect 12-0 record. However, their success came against subpar opponents, and just one of these dozen wins came against a team that made the Big Dance.
St. John's quickly ran out of luck and dropped 12 of its final 21 contests, including a pair of losses to lowly DePaul. What got the Red Storm off the bubble was its wins against the other three Big East teams that made the NCAA tournament: Marquette, Villanova and Seton Hall.
How they make a run: Shamorie Ponds has proven he can score on the big stage, evidenced by his 33-point effort against Duke in St. John's 2018 upset. If Ponds can take over the game and the Red Storm can force turnovers at a solid clip—they rank No. 11 nationally in steals—St. John's has a chance to advance to its first Sweet 16 since 1999.
How they falter: The Red Storm prove that there's a reason it was a surprise when their name was called on Selection Sunday, and exits quietly against Arizona State in the First Four.