Chat with Kieran Darcy
Welcome to SportsNation! On Wednesday, ESPNNewYork.com staff writer Kieran Darcy stops by to chat about the New York college sports scene.
As a staff writer for ESPNNewYork.com, Darcy covers the New York sports scene, college sports in particular. He joined ESPN in August of 2000, after graduating from the University of Pennsylvania, where he played four years of JV basketball for the Quakers. He also used to contribute to ESPN.com's Page 2.
Send your questions now and join Darcy Wednesday at 1 p.m. ET!
Kieran Darcy (1:01 PM)
Hey everyone! First college hoops chat in a while here at ESPNNewYork.com. The season is heating up, especially after St. John's win over Duke on Sunday. Fire away with questions -- on St. John's, or any of the other locals schools. Or the Big East, or college hoops in general!
Ciaran (Island Park, Long Island)
Hi Kieran, What should we realistically expect from St. John's this season?
Kieran Darcy (1:03 PM)
Well, my best guess is they will be right smack on the bubble come Big East tournament time, probably needing at least one win there to get in. Really a must-win game tonight against Rutgers.
chris (new york)
hey kieran how many more wins does st johns need to have to make the tournament?
Kieran Darcy (1:07 PM)
I think they'll need at least 18, Chris. Easiest way to get to 18 would be to beat Rutgers tonight, then win vs. DePaul and South Florida at home, and beat Seton Hall in Newark. Then steal a road either at Cincinnati or at Marquette, and win a first-round game in the Big East tournament.
do you believe st johns turned the corner after that duke game and can maybe go on a winning streak or win 5 out of 6 or something like that
Kieran Darcy (1:14 PM)
It's a huge win for the program and its profile, George -- biggest win in almost a decade. But I do not see a long winning streak on the horizon -- the schedule is just too tough. They play three teams currently ranked in the top 12 in February: UConn, Pitt and Villanova.
Kieran Darcy (1:16 PM)
This team has had a bit of a Jekyll & Hyde quality to it this season. Beat Notre Dame by 18, beat Duke by 15...lose to Louisville and Georgetown by 25 apiece. You've just gotta hope they beat the teams they are supposed to beat the rest of the way, pull an upset or two, and get into the Big Dance. After that, who knows? After the Duke game, they've shown they're basically capable of beating anybody on any given day.
Realistically, how many wins do you think the Johnnies need to lock up a tourney win. Sweeping Rutgers and UCLA this week would certainly be a big step in the right direction.
Kieran Darcy (1:20 PM)
As I said earlier in the chat John, I think they need at least 18. A win against UCLA would be nice, but tonight's game is even more important. I think going 9-9 in the Big East regular season would look a lot better to the selection committee than 8-10 -- that means St. John's needs to go 5-4 the rest of the way in-conference. Easiest way to do that is beat Rutgers, DePaul, Seton Hall and South Florida -- then pull an upset against Cincy, Marquette, Villanova, UConn or Pitt.
David (Queens, NY)
What do you think that odds are that St Johns gets into the dance?
Kieran Darcy (1:23 PM)
I'd peg at about 50/50, David. I think it could go either way. Watching them against Duke on Sunday, it's hard not to think they're one of the best 68 teams in the country. But they have to take care of business against the teams they are better than. A game like tonight would scare me if I'm a St. John's fan, because I can guarantee you Rutgers is going to be fired up and will play extremely hard tonight, wanting to pick off St. John's even more after their win over Duke.
Johnnie A (Forest Hills)
Given that you think they need to win at least one of Cincy, Marq, Nova, Uconn & Pitt, which do you think is most likely? I would give them a good shot at Cincy on the road and Uconn at home.
Kieran Darcy (1:27 PM)
I agree with you, Johnnie A -- I think those two are probably their best shot to pull an upset. St. John's should have beaten Cincinnati at home, but lost by two after shooting 12-for-26 from the foul line. And I still feel like UConn has overachieved a bit this season. It will be interesting to see what kind of crowd there is at the Garden for that game on Feb. 10 -- will UConn have a significant fan presence, or will the St. John's fanbase come out in force following the Duke win.
kb (Upper East Side)
Why do you think that St. John's has had such a roller-coaster type season? Are the players having an issue with the new coaching?
Kieran Darcy (1:30 PM)
I think the new coaching staff has only been a positive -- after all, St. John's hasn't beaten three ranked teams in a season since 2005-06, and hadn't beaten Duke in seven straight tries. To be honest, I kinda agree with the players -- after the Duke game, they were asked why they don't play like that every game. And they admitted that for whatever reason, they don't bring that level of effort and concentration every single time out -- especially on the defensive end of the floor.
Kieran Darcy (1:32 PM)
When they really dial in defensively, they have limited good-shooting teams like Notre Dame and Duke to very bad FG percentages. But they've been blistered by many other teams from the 3-point line -- St. John's was ranked No. 302 in the country in 3-point FG defense prior to the Duke game. They've seen what they're capable of now, beating the No. 3 team in the country. Now let's see if they can bring that kind of effort the rest of the season.
BGB (Bay Ridge)
Any word on how Brownlee's injury is going to affect him tonight? I know its his off hand but it still can't be good.
Kieran Darcy (1:37 PM)
Reports are he was OK in practice yesterday, and took some extra shots after practice to get more comfortable. But game conditions are totally different. I thought Brownlee needed to be more agressive offensively, even before the injury. Perhaps the injury might make him more hesistant and even less aggressive -- particularly if he takes a shot to the thumb over the course of a game. It will be interesting to watch tonight, and going forward.
kb (Upper East Side)
Do you believe that UConn will continue to play as they have for the remainder of the season? They are a fairly young team, and it will be interesting to see if Walker can be as consistent as he has been. Predictions?
Kieran Darcy (1:41 PM)
I think Jim Calhoun has done a tremendous job with this team. If they keep rebounding as they have been (No. 4 in the country), they'll be tough to beat. But I don't trust them as much as I trust, say, Pitt and Villanova. I think St. John's will play them very tough in the Garden on Feb. 10, and that could a huge victory for the Red Storm.
What will it take for the Johnnies to get back in the rankings? 1 vote after beating Duke? I know they have had some bad losses, but they have also beat a now ranked West V, Notre Dame, Georgetown, and Duke.
Kieran Darcy (1:45 PM)
Well, the Duke win didn't do it, they only got one vote in the AP poll this week -- but that's not surprising, considering they'd lost five of six coming in.
Kieran Darcy (1:46 PM)
Sweeping Rutgers and UCLA this week would get them some more votes, but I don't think that would be enough. But a four-game winning streak might just do it -- that would entail beating UConn at home and Cincinnati on the road, after Rutgers and UCLA. Not likely, but you never know.
Kieran Darcy (1:56 PM)
Thanks for all the questions guys -- I better go start de-icing my car, before heading out to Queens for tonight's game. Hope to chat with you again soon!