Two teams that have big wins over some of the top teams in the country but failed to win their conference titles square off in the play-in round. Arizona State will face St. John’s in the First Four for a shot at the No. 11 seed against No. 6 Buffalo in the West.
Arizona State stunned the country early in the season with an upset win over No. 1 Kansas. But the team quickly fell back to earth wound up having an above-average performance in the Pac-12 that resulted in a second-place finish in the conference. Despite entering the Pac-12 Tournament as the No. 2 seed, they fell in overtime to No. 6 seeded Oregon. After losing in the First Four last year, Bobby Hurley has a chance to learn from his mistakes and get the Sun Devils in the Round of 64.
St. John’s started the season at 14-1 with big wins over VCU, Marquette, and Georgetown briefly lifting the Red Storm into the national rankings. But an up-and-down season resulted in them being only the No. 7 seed in the Big East Tournament, where they eventually lost to Marquette. St. John’s boasts a number of big wins though, which makes the team no easy out for any team they face – let alone in the First Four.
— St. John's BBall (@StJohnsBBall) March 17, 2019
Date: Wednesday, March 20, 2019
Time: ~9:10 PM (immediately following N.C. Central vs. North Dakota State)
TV Channel: truTV
Announcers: Spero Dedes, Steve Smith, Jim Jackson, Ros Gold-Onwude
Location: University of Dayton Arena, Dayton, Ohio
Prediction: Neither team has exactly been the model of consistency, but St. John’s wins over the likes of Marquette and Villanova are just too intriguing to ignore. The Red Storm may not have the strength to make a deep run in the tournament, but they should be good enough to get a close win over the Sun Devils.