The St. John and Seton Hall season really ended in the garden late last week. They officially came to an end on Sunday evening when both declined invitations to the NIT.
The two Big East programs said in separate statements that participating in the March Madness consolation tournament was not worth the ongoing risk of COVID-19.
“There is no question that our university would make a different decision in a normal year. However, this was far from a normal year as the extensive COVID-19 logs placed enormous mental and physical demands on all participants in our basketball program. St. John Sporting Director Mike Cragg said in a statement.
The NIT has been scaled down from 32 teams to 16 this year and will be in the Dallas-Fort Worth area bubble, as opposed to the locations in the Campus and Madison Square Garden as in previous years.
Originally, St. Johns (16-11) had planned to play at the NIT, but sources say players were exhausted after a long year of isolation and raised concerns about in Texas.
Also on Sunday, striker Isaih Moore announced his intention to enter the transfer portal. The 6-foot-10 forward, a junior college transfer, improved over the year but was banned from one game and banned from another on disciplinary grounds. A source characterized it as a mutual decision.
St. Johns and Seton Hall both needed strong Big East tournaments to qualify for the NCAA tournament as their respective regular season performances did not count towards one either general offer qualified.
The Red Storm lost in the overtime of the quarter-finals against the rival Pirates before Seton Hall fell in the next round to the eventual champions Georgetown.
Seton Hall (14-13) seemed on the Way to fifth in a row in an NCAA tournament before losing four games at the end of the season gave his odds of an overall bid a fatal blow.
Although the tournament was missed, it turned out to be a successful season for viewed a young St. John’s cadre. Anderson was named Big East Coach of the Year while Star Point Guard Posh Alexander was named Freshman of the Year. Second striker Julian Champagnie was an All-Big East first-team selection and the Johnnies finished fourth in the league.
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