But you know what, maybe this time the cynics are wrong.
St. John’s victory over then 11th ranked Notre Dame is the kind of win that can springboard a team to great things. However, this win is not huge just because it was a win, but because of how the Red Storm won.
Playing without star forward Anthony Mason Jr., playing without starting point guard Malik Boothe, and playing with an ineffective Shawn Evans, the Red Storm used defense and will power, overcame an early eight point deficit, and hit their free throws, and shocked the Fighting Irish.
Irish forward Luke Harangody got his points, yes, but his teammates were shut down, held to 43 percent shooting overall and just 23 percent from down town.
Not bad for a team expected to sink after losing Mason Jr.
When St. John’s jumped out to a 9-1 start to the season, most looked at the schedule, saw St. Francis and NJIT, and yawned. The yawns grew louder when Virginia Tech and Miami took St. John’s to woodshed. Same old Storm; beat the bad teams, lose to the good ones.
But maybe this team is taking a step forward. Maybe St. John’s, which got off to a similarly strong start last year, is maturing. Maybe the Storm’s 40-27 rebounding edge (again, with only limited contribution from lead rebounder Evans) shows that the team has made the commitment to playing up to the physical level that comes with Big East basketball.
14 games into the season, we still don’t have a solid grip on how good this Red Storm team really is. Throw out the first 10 games, and what do we have? A 1-4 record with three blowout losses. That suggests this team might be bad. But the win over the Irish shows that this team has potential.
Here’s the scary thought: Evan’s won’t be held to 4 points and 5 rebounds every night. Burrell’s face will heal, as will Boothe’s thumb. And when that happens, look out.
The Red Storm, playing in the toughest basketball conference in the country, has the potential to wreck a lot of team’s seasons.
Cinderellas? Probably not; the Red Storm still has a very, very long way to go before we start fitting them for glass slippers. If they keep playing the way they played on Saturday, they might want to think about dance lessons.