And by fun, I mean "look out."
By holding off No. 13 Georgetown in a close affair at Madison Square Garden Monday night, St. John's may have changed the trajectory of its season. The Red Storm went from a fringe NCAA tournament team (according to Joe Lunardi's Bracketology they were a No. 11 seed as of Monday morning) to a chic pick to challenge the top portions of the Big East. Before the win, St. John's looked like an experienced but inconsistent, slightly-improved-but-let's-not-get-carried-away sort of squad. After the win, at 3-0 and in first place in the Big East, things are looking up.
The only problem? As SB Nation's Sean Keeley points out today, St. John's next month is going to be brutal.
Just look at this month. Saturday, St. John's travels to No. 14 Notre Dame. After that, the Johnnies play No. 4 Syracuse at home, Notre Dame again (this time at home), at No. 23 Louisville, vs. No. 26 Cincinnati, at No. 23 Georgetown and vs. No. 1 Duke in one of Coach K's annual nationally televised recruiting trips in Madison Square Garden. That's five games against teams in the coaches' Top 25, and it's a stretch that will either make the Red Storm's suddenly ascendant season or break it.
The good news is that Steve Lavin's team is experienced, that Big East stretches like this are something it has likely grown used to over the past four years. There's also the improved play of seniors Dwight Hardy, Justin Brownlee, and D.J. Kennedy, all three of whom played 40 minutes in Monday's win over Georgetown. And the Red Storm have undeniably improved in a variety of areas this season. Most of those improvements have been offensive: St. John's isn't turning the ball over, it's getting to the line frequently (which was basically the reason it was able to win at West Virginia last week) and it's finding consistent ways to score despite a paltry (31.5 percent) 3-point field goal percentage. These are all positive signs.
The bad news is ... well, sheesh. Just look at that month. The gaping maw of the Big East awaits.