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Upsets of Duke, Villanova put St. John's in NIT picture

PHILADELPHIA, PA - FEBRUARY 7: Shamorie Ponds #2 of the St. John's Red Storm celebrates with Tariq Owens #11 after making a basket in the first half against the Villanova Wildcats at the Wells Fargo Center on February 7, 2018 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

Reggie Minton, a member of the eight-person selection committee for the NIT, was watching when St. John’s beat Villanova, 79-75, in Philadelphia.

There was a time when the question would have been what does St. John’s have to do to not get an NIT bid, because metropolitan area teams generally were selected to help boost attendance.

“There’s some other teams out there that fought their butts off to have a good season, and this would just be the absolute capper for them,’’ Minton said of making the NIT.

St. John’s has six games left before the Big East Tournament next month at Madison Square Garden.

Of course, if the upstart Red Storm finds a way to win the Big East, a berth in the NIT won’t be necessary.

Steven Marcus started at Newsday in 1972 and has covered high school, college and professional sports.

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Upsets of Duke, Villanova put St. John's in NIT picture


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