MARCH MADNESS: Rick Pitino and St. John’s suffer historic March Madness snub after reaching Big East semis… as Hall of Famer’s son, Richard, sneaks into Big Dance with New Mexico

  • St. John’s wasn’t close to making it as it wasn’t part of the ‘First Four Out’
  • An abnormal number of ‘bid stealers’ saw the bubble shrink incredibly
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The criticism of the St. John’s NCAA Tournament was historic, as the Red Storm were the highest-ranked team in net to never make it to The Big Dance at No. 32.

The Red Storm also didn’t even come close to making the field, as Rick Pitino’s team was not listed among the first four teams left from the NCAA Tournament.

At best, that means the NCAA Tournament selection committee thought St. John’s was the fifth-best team it didn’t select for an at-large bid.

St. John’s seemed to be hovering right around the cut line, with a win over UConn last Friday securing it a spot in the field. A five-point loss to the eventual top-seeded Huskies didn’t get the Red Storm any closer to the NCAA Tournament.

Instead, Rick’s son, Richard Pitino, led his New Mexico squad to the NCAA Tournament with a win in the Mountain West Conference Tournament. Charles McClelland, chairman of the NCAA selection committee, labeled the Lobos a “bid steal” live on air.

Rick Pitino is one of the best college coaches of all time, but he didn’t make the tournament

Richard Pitino's New Mexico team qualified for the NCAA tournament on Saturday

Richard Pitino’s New Mexico team qualified for the NCAA tournament on Saturday

If, by McClelland’s estimation, there had been fewer bidders this season, five compared to the usual one or two, the younger Pitino could have cost his father’s new team a spot in the tournament.

The 71-year-old Pitino has led five other teams to NCAA Tournaments, tying with Tubby Smith and Lon Kruger for the record.

Had the Red Storm landed on the right side of the bubble, the record would belong solely to Pitino.

With the Lobos making the NCAA Tournament, the younger Pitino has now led a second team to March Madness.

The 41-year-old Pitino made two NCAA Tournament appearances as coach at Minnesota.