A solid start in the non-conference schedule followed up by an abysmal 0-11 start in Big East play has had me questioning the direction of the program in Chris Mullin’s third year at the helm of the St. John's men's basketball program.
Yes, I’m aware St. John's has been ravaged by injuries. Yes, I understand it takes time to put together a winner, but the question I raised to athletic director Anton Goff last Tuesday at a This Is Queensborough-Queens Chamber networking event at the university is how exactly is progress being made when you are winless in the Big East?
Even when circumstances are not going according to plan, 11 straight conference losses is going to be tough to digest for a good majority of fans, alums and media members like myself.
The Red Storm needed a moment. Their fans needed a moment to maybe provide that glimmer of hope that brighter days are ahead .
That moment was Saturday in a shocking 81-77 upset over the fourth-ranked team in the country, the Duke Blue Devils, in front of a raucous Madison Square Garden crowd.
Finally, down the stretch of a game the Johnnies were able to deliver, which is something they were unable to do against the likes of Villanova and Xavier earlier this season.
To hear the Garden roar, to see St. John's come through on the grand stage is long over due.
It was one of those moments and wins that allows you to dream of what this program could potentially be.
Hats off, but it’s one win.
Remember, in Chris Mullin’s first yea, St. Johns destroyed a Syracuse team back in 2015 that found their way to the Final Four in March.
One individual win in the regular season does not make a college hoops program. St. John's needs to parlay this win into momentum in the offseason.
Let’s face it, in the short term St. John's is not going to be able to salvage much of this 2017-2018 season.
However, a young team with a young coach and returning talent next season can use the rest of this year to piggyback on success moving forward.
Learn how to win the close games, figure out how to win in the conference, and maybe that progress that I’ve been searching for within the program will finally be evident on the floor on a night-in, night-out basis.
Let’s hope the Duke win is the start of that progress.
You can listen to me on Friday, Sunday & Monday from 1 to 6 a.m. & Tuesday from 10 p.m. to 2 a.m. on WFAN Sports Radio 660/1019 FM. You can also listen to me on Saturday from 2 to 6 a.m. on CBS Sports Radio.