Big East – Cincinnati | DePaul | Pittsburgh | Rutgers | Seton Hall | Syracuse | Villanova
Big Ten – Indiana | Nebraska | Purdue
Mid-Majors – Florida Gulf Coast
Pac-12 – Arizona State | Colorado | Oregon | Utah | Washington
SEC – Mississippi State
WCC – Gonzaga | Loyola Marymount | San Francisco
It’s now been two seasons since St. John’s ended two decades of despair and finally reached the NCAA Tournament, and the Red Storm are still waiting for a return engagement to the Big Dance. You probably could have forgiven St. John’s for having something of a hangover in 2010, with the Johnnies going 6-10-4 in the season after their big breakthrough, but the needle barely moved in 2011, with the Red Storm still well out of the NCAA Tournament picture. Head coach Ian Stone will be looking for better days in 2012 after helping drag the Johnnies up from mid-table mediocrity into a competitive team in Big East play.
For a side with the 1994 Big East Tournament title as their only real major honor, the inaugural trip to the Big Dance could have been seen as the catalyst for a new era in Red Storm soccer. Instead, Stone has been stuck dealing with growing pains, most acutely felt in the offense in 2010, where St. John’s scored just ten goals all season en route to finishing on bottom of their division of the Big East and missing the postseason entirely.
Signs of an instant turnaround weren’t evident early in 2011, as the Red Storm, a club typically known for a smothering defense, lost their opener to William & Mary, 5-0. The Red Storm would only win one of their first four, in addition to drawing with A10 makeweights Fordham. Stone and co. would begin to show signs of life as Big East play neared, winning three in a row before the league opener. That’d be a disappointing 2-0 loss at Providence, but St. John’s then came back to win four of their next five to put themselves within touching distance of the postseason.
Confoundingly, the bottom dropped out from the Johnnies after a 2-1 win over Seton Hall. The defense was shambles during a four match losing streak, giving up fourteen goals over those games. Most egregiously, the club lost 6-1 to a horrendous Pittsburgh team that won two games all season. It meant that the regular season finale was a must win situation, and the Red Storm saved a little pride with a 2-0 win to make it back into the Big East Tournament.
However, given Stone’s club’s late season slide, it could hardly have been surprising to see them lose in the opening round of the conference tournament to Seton Hall. Stone had gotten the Red Storm back to .500 after 2010’s dip, but the club really got no closer to their second NCAA Tournament berth with just a marginal gain in the RPI.