The St. John's Red Storm began Big East Conference play with a 4-5 record, but rallied with a seven-game conference winning streak that included victories over Pittsburgh, UConn and Villanova. This season, the Johnnies have defeated six top-15 teams, including No. 4/5 Duke, a number matched by no other men's Division I program this year. First-year head coach Steve Lavin has done wonders with an eight-man rotation that features six seniors, a sophomore and a freshman. Lavin made five Sweet 16 appearances with the UCLA Bruins (1996-'03).
Record: 21-10 overall, 12-6 Big East Conference (as of Thursday).
RPI: 32nd (as of Thursday).
Key wins: The first indication that college basketball was back at St. John's came Jan. 30 when the Johnnies dominated Duke, 93-78, at Madison Square Garden. But a last-second 60-59 victory over then No. 4 Pittsburgh vaulted St. John's into the top-25 for the first time since Nov. of 2000.
Key losses: On Dec. 11, St. John's lost to Fordham University, 84-80, at Rose Hall Gym in New York, NY. Four days earlier, Dec. 7, the Red Storm lost at Carnesecca Arena to the visiting St. Bonaventure Bonnies, 67-66.
Player(s) to watch: Senior point guard Dwight Hardy, a All-Big East First Teamer, has ice water running through his veins. The 6-foot-2 guard is a lot like former Texas A&M clutch performer Acie Law IV (2003-07), who led the Aggies to a Sweet 16 appearance. The three-time Big East Player Of The Week ended the regular season by averaging 23.9 point per game in St. John's last 11 games. Senior Justin Brownlee is a 6-foot-7, 220-pounds forward who does nothing spectacular, but he's strong, athletic and a versatile scorer. Believe it or not, Brownlee can take opponents off the dribble and can hit the occasional 3-pointer
Need a printable NCAA bracket to fill out for the tournament? Download SB Nation's March Madness Bracket.