St. John's Advances in Big East Tournament

They've still got a losing record in the Big East and will probably end up below .500 overall, but you can't accuse St. John's of quitting on Norm Roberts this season. The Red Storm beat Georgetown 64-59 Tuesday, their fourth win in six games, and moved on to a Wednesday date with Marquette in the second round of the Big East Tournament.

It's their second win against the Hoyas in the last eight days, two nails in the coffin for Georgetown's already flagging hopes of making the NCAA Tournament. St. John's harbored no such illusions, but they didn't lose resolve when the game was tied at 49 with 4:30 to play and picked up another strong win.

Is that enough for Roberts to get another season? You'd think so, based on the improved play in the conference this season. They're small steps forward and the team ultimately hasn't accomplished all that much, but it's been a while since the school could even say that much. The fact that the entire core of the team is made up of sophomores is another vote in Roberts' favor. There's still an outside chance that they'll land Lance Stephenson of Lincoln High School, the top high school player in the city, and firing Roberts would likely end any chance of that.

If they somehow beat Marquette there's probably no reason to even couch Roberts' return. They're certainly catching the Golden Eagles at the right time. Starting guard Dominic James is out for the rest of the season with a broken foot and Marquette's lost four straight, and six of nine, to close the season. There's likely to be a decent crowd spurring the Red Storm forward and we know they'll play hard, so give them a slim chance of pulling out another upset. 

Josh Alper is a writer living in New York City and is a contributor to and in addition to his duties for

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